Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia

by Ken Albala, Editor


Going out for Ethiopian, Argentine, or Malaysian food—or some other international cuisine—may be all the rage these days, but understanding the world's food cultures goes far beyond sampling the fare of the latest "exotic" restaurant. For example, learning the history behind the eating of tahricht (oven-baked sheep offal) among the Berber peoples of northern Africa, or how an average family in the Philippines shops for food, or why Brazilian chefs are focusing more than ever on using culturally important ingredients—all of these are part of understanding global food cultures.

Print Flyer
Cover image for Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia

May 2011


Pages 1434
Volumes 4
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Culture
  • Award Winner!




    Add to Cart
  • eBook


    eBook Available from ABC-CLIO
    Email ABC-CLIO
    Call Your Preferred eBook Vendor for Pricing

  • International Pricing

    Hardcover: £322.00/349,00€/A$536.00

This comprehensive reference work introduces food culture from more than 150 countries and cultures around the world—including some from remote and unexpected peoples and places.

From babka to baklava to the groundnut stew of Ghana, food culture can tell us where we've been—and maybe even where we're going. Filled with succinct, yet highly informative entries, the four-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia covers all of the planet's nation-states, as well as various tribes and marginalized peoples. Thus, in addition to coverage on countries as disparate as France, Ethiopia, and Tibet, there are also entries on Roma Gypsies, the Maori of New Zealand, and the Saami of northern Europe. There is even a section on food in outer space, detailing how and what astronauts eat and how they prepare for space travel as far as diet and nutrition are concerned.

Each entry offers information about foodstuffs, meals, cooking methods, recipes, eating out, holidays and celebrations, and health and diet. Vignettes help readers better understand other cultures, while the inclusion of selected recipes lets them recreate dishes from other lands.


  • Entries covering over 150 countries and cultures from around the world
  • More than 100 expert contributors
  • Vignettes
  • An index that facilitates cross-cultural comparison


  • Offers authoritative articles written by food writers, journalists, food culture experts, and professional food scholars
  • Presents material available in no other food reference work
  • Uses vignettes about what a typical family eats to put a human face on each article
  • Covers practically every place and people on earth, from France and Italy to Haiti, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Hmong, and even Antarctica
Author Info

Ken Albala is professor of history at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA. He has written many books on food history, most recently Beans: A History, winner of the 2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award; and The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food, One Recipe at a Time. He has edited several food series for Greenwood Press and is coeditor of the journal Food Culture and Society.



"Entries are well-written in a concise yet informative language that results in an easy and engaging read. This is aimed at an academic audience but the style would also make this an accessible read to anyone with a general interest in food culture."Reference Reviews

"Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates, general readers, and professionals/practitioners."Choice

"With its geographical structure and consistent formatting, Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia provides a unique perspective on what the world's population eats and why and is recommended for high school, public, and academic libraries."Booklist, Starred Review

"This is a quality encyclopedia with broad appeal especially for public libraries and undergraduate colleges and universities."Library Journal


Editors' Choice 2011 — Booklist

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

Gold cover imageHolidays of the World Cookbook for Students, 2nd Edition cover imageCultural Encyclopedia of Vegetarianism cover image
Martial Arts of the World cover imageInvention of the Modern Cookbook cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year



Need Help? Try our Search Tips