Near a thousand tables : a history of food

by Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Hardcover, 2002




New York : The Free Press, c2002.


"The story of food is cultural as well as culinary. The history of how we produce, process, prepare and eat it encompasses ecology as well as gastronomy. In this book, the history is global. It ranges over half a million years, but Felipe Fernandez-Armesto always makes it contemporary, tracing it back from current food trends and food chains, tastes and anxieties."--BOOK JACKET.

User reviews

LibraryThing member thierry
This is a fairly good overview of the history and social history of food. The author covers a series of revolutions or evolutions, from the invention of cooking using fire – separating us from animals, to the establishment of agriculture and herding – the domestication of both livestock and crop is seen as crucial, the rise of ritualistic/magical connotations of eating, through food as a reflection of social differentiation and the current industrialization of food production.

I found this quite informative, and the author makes a compelling case for each of his stages. It was quite surprising to read about what our ancestors ate – from the hominids to Roman reveler and sailors. The food, the dishes and the tastes are fairly well described but the author could have been clearer in his writing, and who the hell knows what 'calid' means and why is it used so often in this book?
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LibraryThing member mbmackay
A disappointing cavalcade of facts with little novelty & no unifying big idea.
Read Aug 2006
LibraryThing member Dreesie
Such. A. Slow. Read.

With just 224 pages of text, you would think this would go quickly. But oh the writing. Though this book is very generalized (obviously, 224 pages for a history of food?), the writing style is still very dry and academic. It absolutely does not flow well--each paragraph tends to be an example, so each paragraph means trying to figure out how it relates to the section and chapter topics.

But, I'm done. It was interesting, but I don't think I'll be reading anything else by this author.
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