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Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food & People Paperback – August 14, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0471202806 ISBN-10: 0471202800 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471202800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471202806
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,466,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...Tracing the connection between major historical events and their affect on different culinary traditions, this hearty meal of 12 "courses" explains everything from how the Franch gained their gastronomic stature to the roots of American cuisine..." (Sante)

"...Based on the sweep self-assurance and verve exhibited in this book, subtitled "A History of Food and People,: we will be reading more of and from her. "Ah," you say "a game of trivia." Not really, it's too satisfying." (Chicago Tribune)

From the Back Cover

An illuminating account of how history shapes our diets

Throughout history, food has played a critical and defining part in individual cultures and the overall development of civilization. Cuisine and Culture presents an engaging, informative, and amazing story of the interaction among history, culture, and food that draws connections between major historical events and how and why these events affected and defined the culinary traditions of different societies.

Covering prehistory and the earliest societies around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers to today’s celebrity chefs, Cuisine and Culture is a multicultural and multiethnic approach to food and history, providing enlightening answers to many such questions as:

  • How did the French establish a notable reputation in world cuisine?
  • Where does American cuisine have its roots?
  • How has food been used to control populations and as a weapon during war?
  • How did the Romans come to believe cinnamon grew in swamps guarded by giant killer bats?
  • Why did some restaurants print their own money?

Complete with sample recipes and menus, as well as revealing photographs and illustrations, Cuisine and Culture is an important resource for people interested in food history.

Customer Reviews

It encapusulates history very well making me excited to read more.
Gwen K. Gulliksen
This statement is one of many from the book that is completely juvenile, unfounded and not cited.
Alexandra A. Macdonald
I strongly recommend this book to everyone - not just history or food buffs.
Teresa Amos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Lauderdale on January 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am the Director of a culinary school in Southern California. We have been using Tannahill's text for our Food History course; that is until Cuisine and Culture was published. While Tannahill provides a deeply detailed timeline, with links to historical events, and is quite a scholarly tome, convincing our students to actually read the book has been an uphill battle. Cuisine and Culture changed all that. This book belies Civitello's true passion for food, delights our students, and serves as the perfect complement to our World Civilization course. It is full of fascinating side-notes, dispels many urban legends (the recipe for Coca Cola is not a secret; it can be found on page 209), and provides historically accurate recipes that our students then make and bring into class. I especially like the time she spends on the 20th century, and her conjectures on the future of food. Probably not the right book for one pursuing a PhD in food history, but definitely for anyone who loves food!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Gwen K. Gulliksen on January 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
What I most love about this book is the wonderfully witty tone in which it is written. I found myself chuckling throughout. It encapusulates history very well making me excited to read more. Civetello has a fresh style and brings exciting new research to the table so that even well schooled chefs will be surprised. Linda's book is proof that the beauty of the food profession is that there is alwyas something new to learn!
Great reference list!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Teresa Amos on January 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very pleased by the amount of information on history and culture provided by this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and had trouble putting it down. The book is interesting, easy to read and highly informative. I had certainly never realized how our past has been shaped by our cuisine. I strongly recommend this book to everyone - not just history or food buffs.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra A. Macdonald on November 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book was assigned to me as a part of a culinary arts curriculum. The entire book is one broad sweeping generalization after another. The author states in the first chapter about the middle ages that if a person wore fur they have to worry about "the clothes police". This statement is one of many from the book that is completely juvenile, unfounded and not cited. Take this dangerous paragraph from the last chapter as a perfect example of what I mean. It is entitled "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome" and it reads as follows,"In 1989, Michael Dorris, a Native American professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, published a book called "The Broken Cord". It was an agonizing story of his discovery of the disease from which is adopted Native American son was suffering, fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS. Drinking during pregnancy could cause severe central nervous system damage, seizures, and shorten life span. He exposed the history of the United States- Native American relations that has led to such despair that on reservations young men carry can openers in their pockets to puncture spray cans of Lysol, smear the gel on bread and eat it to get high." The last sentence of this paragraph has nothing to do with fetal alcohol syndrome and reads as though every native american man snorts glue!
Anyone thinking of using this book in an academic setting please don't! There is even a disclaimer in the front stating that the publisher and author do not guarantee any of the information in this book should be regarded as truth. The whole thing is completely bogus.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am a chef, nutrtionist and food media personality, and I found this book to be excellent! Ms. Civitello describes with great accuracy and wit, the history of food,and how it effects the way we eat today. I highly recommend this for food pros as well as those just interested in history.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jean Clucas Cory on September 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
This slim volume might be worth the price at 18 dollars, but the $45 students are forced to pay for this book, used as a textbook, is outrageous. The book's vocabulary and its assumptions about the level of knowledge of the reader lumps it in with juvenile literature. For example, it tells the reader that ancient Greeks and Romans had a democratic form of government, and that democracy means the citizens vote, just like in the United States.

The book appears an attempt to "candy-coat" (almost literally!) history for cooking students who are assumed to know nothing of it. It has long sections of history at a 9th-grader's level, with only minimal coverage of foodstuffs at some points.

Worse, it is riddled with errors and inaccuracies. For example, the last section I read before returning it for a refund covered sourdough bread. Civitello said that San Francisco sourdough really is different, as San Franciscans claim, because "the yeast in the air of San Francisco is a different variety, lactobacillus sanfrancisco." This is blatantly wrong, as lactobacillus is a bacterium and yeast is a mold. It was delightful to learn, after some online research, that the bacterium lactobacillus sanfrancisco does contribute to the unique taste of San Francisco sourdough. But the statement in the book was clearly wrong, and typical of the level of accuracy throughout.
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