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Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History (California Studies in Food and Culture)

Laudan, Rachel

116 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0520286316 / ISBN 13: 9780520286313
Published by University of California Press
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Probing beneath the apparent confusion of dozens of cuisines, this book shows how merchants, missionaries, and the military took cuisines over mountains, oceans, deserts, and across political frontiers. It emphasizes how cooking turns farm products into food. Series: California Studies in Food and Culture. Num Pages: 488 pages, 68 b/w photographs, 10 maps, 6 tables. BIC Classification: HBG; HBT; WBN. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 231 x 152 x 32. Weight in Grams: 668. . 2015. Reprint. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780520286313

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Title: Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History...

Publisher: University of California Press

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:New

About this title


Rachel Laudan tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of the world’s great cuisines from the mastery of grain cooking some twenty thousand years ago, to the present in this superbly researched book. Probing beneath the apparent confusion of dozens of cuisines to reveal the underlying simplicity of the culinary family tree, she shows how periodic seismic shifts in culinary philosophy” beliefs about health, the economy, politics, society and the gods prompted the construction of new cuisines, a handful of which, chosen as the cuisines of empires, came to dominate the globe.

Cuisine and Empire shows how merchants, missionaries, and the military took cuisines over mountains, oceans, deserts, and across political frontiers. Laudan’s innovative narrative treats cuisine, like language, clothing, or architecture, as something constructed by humans. By emphasizing how cooking turns farm products into food and by taking the globe rather than the nation as the stage, she challenges the agrarian, romantic, and nationalistic myths that underlie the contemporary food movement.

From the Inside Flap:

A triumph, pointing the way to a wholly new kind of historiography that can hold its own with more familiar work on political, economic, social, and intellectual history. G. W. Bowersock, New York Review of Books

Magnificent. . . . Some of Laudan’s diffusion maps’ of particular styles of cuisine are miniature masterpieces of cultural history. Peter Thonemann, Times Literary Supplement

"Rachel Laudan combines an impressive grasp of global history with a deep appreciation of the world's cuisines in all their glorious diversity. Readers who love food will find Cuisine and Empire both informative and entertaining." Daniel Headrick, author of Power over Peoples: Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present

"Few writers could tackle the sweeping subject matter of Cuisine and Empire with such grace and authority as Rachel Laudan. She rises to this challenge with fresh insights and a global perspective on our attitudes to food. This book is not to be missed by food historians and lovers of good eating." Anne Willan, author of The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook

Rachel Laudan offers a remarkable and always fascinating account of the rise and fall of cuisines, giving equal time to every part of the globe and situating the modern period within the much longer history of how people have gone about preparing food. The focus on cooking and cuisine demonstrates the durability of tastes, but also how such tastes are spread and influenced by political and cultural expansion. Cuisine and Empire is a riveting and unique combination of culinary ideas and exposition on the materiality of eating.” Paul Freedman, editor of Food: The History of Taste

In this groundbreaking book, Rachel Laudan takes a distinctive approach to the development and expression of food cultures throughout human history. She describes successive models of foodways that illuminate different periods and places, underpinned by persuasive historical analysis. Both general readers and professional historians will feel challenged by her arguments to integrate food and its culture into their thinking about human history, not just as an afterthought but as an essential tool of understanding and explanation.” Naomi Duguid, author of Burma: Rivers of Flavor

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