By Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
In close to 1000 Tables, acclaimed nutrients historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto tells the interesting tale of foodstuff as cultural in addition to culinary background -- a window at the historical past of mankind.
In this "appetizingly provocative" (Los Angeles occasions) booklet, he publications readers throughout the 8 nice revolutions on the earth heritage of foodstuff: the origins of cooking, which set humankind on a path except different species; the ritualization of consuming, which introduced magic and which means into people's courting with what they ate; the inception of herding and the discovery of agriculture, possibly the 2 maximum revolutions of all; the increase of inequality, which resulted in the improvement of haute delicacies; the long-range alternate in nutrition which, essentially by myself, broke down cultural boundaries; the ecological exchanges, which revolutionized the worldwide distribution of vegetation and farm animals; and, ultimately, the industrialization and globalization of industrially produced food.
From prehistoric snail "herding" to Roman banquets to important Macs to genetically converted tomatoes, close to 1000 Tables is a full-course meal of notable narrative, remarkable perception, and engaging explorations that might fulfill the hungriest of readers.
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Extra resources for Near a Thousand Tables - A History of Food
It can release power. It can create bonds. It can signify revenge or love. It can proclaim identity. A change as revolutionary as any in the history of our species happened when eating stopped being merely practical and became ritual, too. From cannibals to homeopathists and health foodies, eaters target foods which they think will burnish their characters, extend their powers, prolong their lives. Diet and eating habits are inseparable from the rest of culture: in particular, they interact with religion, morals and medicine.
This represented an innovation of enormous importance-unequaled by any subsequent technical innovation in the history of cooking until our own day: it facilitated boiling, a new method of cooking or, at least, one which previously could only be approximated by using a tripe or skin filled with water, suspended over the fire, as a cooking pot. Late but representative examples were discovered in Ireland at Ballyvourney, County Cork, in 1952,where the water table was high enough to keep water from seeping away.
Taken one by one, the veracity of all these reports was open to question. Cannibalism can be a useful source of the comfortable horrors which boost sales of an otherwise boring travelogue. In the late Middle Ages and, with diminishing force, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was an extremely useful attribute to ascribe to one's enemies; for cannibalism, like buggery and blasphemy, was classed as an offense against natural law. Those who committed it put themselves beyond the law's protection.