From Publishers Weekly
Recycling much historical material from the magisterial Cambridge World History of Food (which the author co-edited), this slender volume distills 10,000 years of food history into just 300 pages. While the first work was notable for its rich multiplicity of voices and deeply informed scholarship, this one is a bit of a hash, owing to its author's insistence on squeezing a far-ranging narrative into the narrow framework of globalism. Far from being a new economic concept, the globalization of food, asserts Kiple, is as old as agriculture itself (globalization being murkily defined as "a process of homogenization whereby the cuisines of the world have been increasingly untied from regional food production, and one that promises to make the foods of the world available to everyone in the world"). The strongest material examines the spread of agriculture and its ramifications: it's a paradox of civilization that increased food production encourages population growth, which invariably creates food shortages and disease. That said, gastronomes will find scraps to nibble on here and there—who knew, for example, that the Egyptians trained their monkeys to harvest grapes? (June)
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"...this slender volume distills 10,000 years of food history into just 300 pages... The strongest material examines the spread of agriculture and its ramifications... gastronomes will find scraps to nibble on...."
See all Editorial Reviews
"...the book is filled with many intriguing culinary facts and tasty tidbits of food history."
"It is a fascinating tale... it is brimming with curious titbits... Anyone interested in the history of food for whom "The Cambridge World History of Food" seems too large a helping will find Mr Kiple's sprightly summary volume far more palatable."
"In a few short paragraphs, Mr. Kiple summarizes huge ideas...."
"...delightful work... There are countless fascinating food and drink details in A Movable Feast . But Kiple's story of globalization is particularly interesting not for its incidentals but for the connections it makes between food-ways and what we would generally describe as real history."
-Jennifer Hewett, The American Interest
"...a smorgasbord of tidbits about our culinary influences, from legumes to Lent to Lindy's restaurant."
-Chicago Sun Times
"Kenneth Kiple has written a delicious history of food, from the pickings our earliest ancestors happened to find under the trees to the amazing range of food available in the nearest supermarket today, from the first domesticated pigs to the prime pork chops we ate for dinner last night. This is a cornucopia of information about food, both profound and fun, a history, a reference book, and a collection of fascinating facts."
-Bunny Crumpacker, author of The Sex Life of Food
"The subtitle suggests a pretty tall order for Mr. Kiple to deliver but he does so in a way that the linkage and connections between our neolithic ancestors and ourselves is neither to be dismissed as progress nor trifled with as evidence of what has gone wrong on our planet and its food chain over the last 10,000 years. "
"As the world struggles with food safety and legislating the table, looking back at how far the world's food supply has evolved can give us perspective. Thanks to food historians and authors such as Kenneth F. Kiple we can do that....There's plenty of food for thought in these pages."
-The Toledo Blade
"...plenty of answers to intriguing questions...."
-St. Louis Post
"Is this, then, a volume, you should rush out and buy? If you chief interest is in the nutritional effects of changing diets...you might well find it worthwhile."
"I was pleased to find three commendable qualities in this well-produced and reasonably priced volume: it is packed with fascinating information; it is an admirable exposition on the human propensity to elaborate and find meaning in the most mundane daily tasks and material items; and it would be a useful supplementary text for a course in historical or colonial archaeology."
-Jonathan Driver, Simon Fraser University, Canadian Journal of Archaeology
"...Kiple must be congratulated for an informative and unusually entertaining synthesis of ten millennia of history. His expertise in the study of health and disease is apparent, and he is particularly strong when examining the relationship between food preparation, consumption patterns, and well-being."
-Canadian Journal of History
"...a book to savor, and to dip back into again and again to nibble at the storehouse of information within." -Kristen M. Burkholder, H-Atlantic