Cover image for Food : a culinary history from antiquity to the present
Food : a culinary history from antiquity to the present
Flandrin, Jean-Louis, 1931-2001.
Uniform Title:
Histoire de l'alimentation. English.
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xviii, 592 pages, 20 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 27 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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TX353 .H52513 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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When did we first serve meals at regular hours? Why did we begin using individual plates and utensils to eat? When did "cuisine" become a concept and how did we come to judge food by its method of preparation, manner of consumption, and gastronomic merit?

Food: A Culinary History explores culinary evolution and eating habits from prehistoric times to the present, offering surprising insights into our social and agricultural practices, religious beliefs, and most unreflected habits. The volume dispels myths such as the tale that Marco Polo brought pasta to Europe from China, that the original recipe for chocolate contained chili instead of sugar, and more. As it builds its history, the text also reveals the dietary rules of the ancient Hebrews, the contributions of Arabic cookery to European cuisine, the table etiquette of the Middle Ages, and the evolution of beverage styles in early America. It concludes with a discussion on the McDonaldization of food and growing popularity of foreign foods today.

Author Notes

Jean-Louis Flandrin is professor emeritus at the University of Paris VIII-Vincennes.

Massimo Montanari is professor of medieval history and the history of food at the Institute of Paleography and Medieval Studies, University of Bologna.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Albert Sonnenfeld has emended Flandrin and Montanari's original French opus to produce this English edition of an anthology particularly useful for students beginning a study of food history. The volume seeks sensible explanations for ancient eating practices, such as the Israelites' elaborate dietary laws. Christianity's triumph in the late Roman Empire contributed to the world of cookery a desacralization of meat so that it became an everyday item at exactly the same time that Germanic herders had begun to increase the supply of red meat in Roman markets. By the thirteenth century, kitchen career specializations such as cookie makers were already recognized. Laurioux's chapter on medieval cookery explains helpfully how to interpret recipes from the era. Although the book does not address the cooking of the Far East except insofar as it has been imported to the West, dabblers in the history of food will find copious readings here to satisfy their curiosity. --Mark Knoblauch

Library Journal Review

This English-language edition of L'Histoire de l'alimentation (1996) is an entertaining and informative addition to the study of food and the customs that surround it. The 40 essays comprising this volume were written by historians from various countries and focus primarily on the food history of Europe. The essays are arranged by time period, from prehistoric to modern times, with the bulk of the work concentrating on the medieval period and before. Introductory essays for each section provide a brief overview of the time period and its issues. This is an excellent compilation of consistently well-written articles on a wide range of topics, including the dietary rules of the ancient Hebrews, the origins of the restaurant, and the contribution of Arab cooking to European culture. Recommended for anyone interested in European social history in general and food history in particular. [Bibliographical references and index not seen.]ÄMary Martin, Manchester, NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-The editors have diligently researched and presented the evolution of food, meals, and eating customs from the first prehistoric hunters to the fast-food chains of today, and show how they all have had an impact on culture in general. The fact that social status, geography, diseases, families, and religion have influenced the history of food is also covered. For example, the Black Plague is credited for the use of individual portions rather than a community plate. The chronologically arranged essays are written by different experts in the fields. While the emphasis is strongly European, some Asian influences are mentioned. Although written in a sophisticated manner, this is a thorough, up-to-date overview of a universally appealing topic.- Myra Tabish, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Original Edition
1 Prehistory and Early Civilizations
Introduction: The Humanization of Eating BehaviorsJean-Louis Flandrin
1 Feeding Strategies in Prehistoric TimesCatherine Perles
2 The Social Function of Banquets in the Earliest CivilizationsFrancis Joannes
3 Food Culture in Ancient EgyptEdda Bresciani
4 Biblical Reasons: The Dietary Rules of the Ancient HebrewsJean Soler
5 The Phoenicians and the Carthaginians: The Early Mediterranean DietAntonella Spano Giammellaro
2 The Classical World
Introduction: Food Systems and Models of CivilizationMassimo Montanari
6 Urban and Rural Diets in GreeceMarie-Claire Amouretti
7 Greek Meals: A Civic RitualPauline Schmitt-Pantel
8 The Culture of the SymposiumMassimo Vetta
9 The Diet of the EtruscansGiuseppe Sassatelli
10 The Grammar of Roman DiningFlorence Dupont
11 The Broad Bean and the Moray: Social Hierarchies and Food in RomeMireille Corbier
12 Diet and Medicine in the Ancient WorldInnocenzo Mazzini
13 The Food of OthersOddone Longo
3 From the Late Classical Period to the Early Middle Ages (Fifth-Tenth Centuries)
Introduction: Romans, Barbarians, Christians-The Dawn of European Food CultureMassimo Montanari
14 Production Structures and Food Systems in the Early Middle AgesMassimo Montanari
15 Peasants, Warriors, Priests: Images of Society and Styles of DietMassimo Montanari
4 Westerners and Others
Introduction: Food Models and Cultural IdentityMassimo Montanari
16 Christians of the East: Rules and Realities of the Byzantine DietEwald Kislinger
17 Arab Cooking and Its Contribution to European CultureBernard Rosenberger
18 Mediterranean Jewish Diet and Traditions in the Middle AgesMiguel-Angel Motis Dolader
5 The Late Middle Ages (Eleventh-Fourteenth Centuries)
Introduction: Toward a New Dietary BalanceMassimo Montanari
19 Society, Food, and FeudalismAntoni Riera-Melis
20 Self-Sufficiency and the Market: Rural and Urban Diet in the Middle AgesAlfio Cortonesi
21 Food TradesFrancoise Desportes
22 The Origins of Public Hostelries in EuropeHans Conrad Peyer
23 Medieval CookingBruno Laurioux
24 Food and Social Classes in Late Medieval and Renaissance ItalyAllen J. Grieco
25 Seasoning, Cooking, and Dietetics in the Late Middle AgesJean-Louis Flandrin
26 "Mind Your Manners": Etiquette at the TableDaniela Romagnoli
27 From Hearth to Table: Late Medieval Cooking EquipmentFrancoise Piponnier
6 The Europe of Nation-States (Fifteenth-Eighteenth Centuries)
Introduction: The Early Modern PeriodJean-Louis Flandrin
28 Growing without Knowing Why: Production, Demographics, and DietMichel Morineau
29 Colonial Beverages and the Consumption of SugarAlain Huetz de Lemps
30 Printing the Kitchen: French Cookbooks, 1480-1800Philip Hyman and Mary Hyman
31 Dietary Choices and Culinary Technique, 1500-1800Jean-Louis Flandrin
32 From Dietetics to Gastronomy: The Liberation of the GourmetJean-Louis Flandrin
7 The Contemporary Period (Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries)
Introduction: From Industrial Revolution to Industrial FoodJean-Louis Flandrin
33 The Transformation of the European DietHans Jurgen Teuteberg and Jean-Louis Flandrin
34 The Invasion of Foreign FoodsYves Pehaut
35 The Rise of the RestaurantJean-Robert Pitte
36 The Food Industry and New Preservation TechniquesGiorgio Pedrocco
37 The Taste for Canned and Preserved FoodAlberto Capatti
38 The Emergence of Regional CuisinesJulia Csergo
39 The Perils of Abundance: Food, Health, and Morality in American HistoryHarry A. Levenstein
40 The "McDonaldization" of CultureClaude Fischler
Conclusion: Today and TomorrowJean-Louis Flandrin and Massimo Montanari