"Magnificent. Offers a compelling narrative of the rise and fall of the various culinary philosophies. . . a model example of 'tertiary' history, drawing together a vast range of specialized studies into a single story about global culinary geography . . . a radically counter-cultural vision of modern food politics." (Times Literary Supplement.
Painstakingly researched and compellingly presented. Petits Propos Culinaires, 99. November, 2013.
"Wonderful . . . There is nothing argumentative or prescriptive about her book . . . but in our current American historical moment it seems breathtakingly transgressive . . .What I appreciate about Laudan is her perspective." (Lydia Kiesling. The Millions. 2014-01-24).
Fantastic read, immensely well researched and so accessible. Love it! (Maria Speck, author Ancient Grains for Modern Kitchens)
"During my forty year culinary career, there have been a select number of books that became touchstones, volumes that seemed to arrive just when inspiration was needed or direction was appropriate, books that somehow enhanced my sense of having found my calling. The newest addition to the list is a work of culinary history by Rachel Laudan."
(Virginia B. Wood The Austin Chronicle, on the range
"It seems like every time you hear someone mention processed food, it's accompanied with the words 'bad' or 'unhealthy,' plus a shaking finger. Unless you're author Rachel Laudan."
(Los Angeles Times Daily Dish
"Magnificent . . . Some of Laudan's 'diffusion maps' of particular styles of cuisine are miniature masterpieces of cultural history."
"Epic in range. . . . Its solidity and substance make a change from the day-to-day scatter of information delivered and consumed in tweets and sound bites."
(The Daily Spud
"A fascinating account of the rise and fall of cuisines. . . . Touching on all parts of the globe, Rachel explores human development through the vastly understated tool of food."
(Blue Lifestyle Minute
From the Back Cover
"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, author 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. . . . 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