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Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society Paperback – January 1, 1976
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“The topic is vividly described and plentifully illustrated.”
“Although it is neither a detective story nor primarily a humorous work, there are elements of each in this lively and scholarly book on the broader aspects of food in the Middle Ages. . . . If you would like to know how and when people fasted, . . . you can read about it here. You can also learn when to spit and how to share a drinking vessel with your neighbor with some delicacy. What was a banquet like? . . . If you are intrigued by any of this and much more besides, this is the book for you.”
—Petits Propos Culinaires
“A fascinating narrative of food and life five centuries ago. . . . This book is highly recommended to dietitians, nutritionists, lovers of food history, and students of medieval life and literature.”
—Journal of the American Dietetic Association
“[This book contains] delightful illustrations taken from illuminated manuscripts, and its wealth of information makes it a feast for anyone interested in the history of food.”
“[Henisch’s] familiarity with primary sources is formidable, and we reap the benefit of years of scholarly sleuthing. . . . [A] thorough, well-organized, and well-written study that will be valued not only by the academic, by the general reader as well.”
“[Fast and Feast] will become a necessary reference book for those studying medieval medicine and also for historians of nutrition, food, and social attitudes. . . . Highly recommended.”
From the Back Cover
'A fascinating narrative of food and life five centuries ago... this book is highly recommended to dietitians, nutritionists, lovers of food history, and students of medieval life and literature.'-Journal of the American Dietetic Association
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As for content: It's positively shocking to read about the social disapproval that came simply with eating before lunch, eating too much, and eating the wrong foods. It horrifies a modern reader to see the tremendous and baseless sacerdotal interference in nutrition throughout the Middle Ages. Ponder the role of churchmen who feel they had nothing better to do than offer proscriptions on how, what, and when to eat.
And then ponder how our generation has outdone even them in associating guilt and shame with the love of food...