ABC-CLIO/Greenwood - Reference

Food in Early Modern Europe

by Ken Albala


This unique book examines food's importance during the massive evolution of Europe following the Middle Ages.

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February 2003


Pages 280
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics World History/Culture
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    Hardcover: £50.00/54,00€/A$83.00

Rarely do we read about the roles of food in history. Yet its study offers us a humanizing look at those who lived before us. This unique book examines food's importance during the massive evolution of Europe following the Middle Ages. It was a time when even forks and table manners were remarkable and new. Food became a cardinal concern in explorations of the New World, as well as a fundamental element of global trade. Agricultural revolution gave rise to new farming methods. Science illuminated diet and nutrition. Food historian Ken Albala has written the perfect book for students and other readers interested in the myriad aspects of food in Early Modern Europe.

This book answers such questions as: Why did people toil and travel for certain foods, such as spices, when they were already surrounded by an abundance of edible plants at home? How did foods fit in the ritual life of the ordinary villager? Why were people expected to avoid meat for long periods? Why were nobles and peasants expected to eat different food than the lower classes? How did cooking methods differ from our own? This guide also includes many period recipes, never before available in English, along with evocative illustrations and a timeline.

Table of Contents

Time LineIntroductionFood and PeopleIngredientsCookingCuisine by RegionReligion and FoodConcepts of Diet and NutritionFood in Literature and Related Food GenresConclusionSuggested Further ReadingsIndex



Historian Albala explores the complex and interrelated changes that took place in the production and consumption of food in Europe roughly between 1504 and 1800, from first contact with the New World to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution....Public libraries and undergraduate collections.—Choice

In clear prose with a conscience avoidance of scholarly jargon, Albalas text provides a solid overview of Western European food history from 1500 to 1800 with a clear focus on the early modern period....^IFood in Early Modern Europe^R provides a useful introductory overview that should serve as a model of scholarship for anyone interested in food-historical narratives, regardless of the time period or region. It is an excellent reference work, equipped with rigorous subject and recipe indexes as well as a detailed biography arranged according to chapters....[a] concisely written and rigorously researched tour of European eating that is not only an excellent reference tool for students but also a springboard for continued scholarship.—H-Net:Humanities and Social Sciences Online

Part of Greenwood's Food through History series, this volume presents the history of food and foodways between 1500 and 1880 in the most familiar territories of Western Europe (with some attention to global ramifications and eastern states). Such an overview is much needed given the attention to and interest in food history in recent decades....Besides being a clear and often fascinating history for the nonspecialist, ^IFood in Early Modern Europe^R should stimulate those of us working on various topics that intersect with that most essential susbstance of human life and culture to clarify what courses yet remain untouched.—Sixteenth Century Journal

^IFood in Early Modern Europe^R succeeds in sandwiching the culture of food winthin contemporary economic and art theory, showing the integrated and reflective nature of food and consumption within a society....[m]uch needed.—History: Reviews of New Books

Ken Albala....[h]as written an accessible text that illuminates an important aspect of everyday life in centuries past: food.—E-Streams

Food in Early Modern Europe is a successful survey of a long period of time, a handful of nations (which include even more regional cultures), and a variety of foodstuffs. The inter-relation of historical issues with the theme of food is easily carried throughout the book. The writing is altogether accessible. Indeed, the book would be fine for high school students as well as college students or adults with an interest in the area. Tecommended for public and academic libraries.—E-Streams

The author has compiled a well-researched history of food using primary and secondary sources....This very scholarly book provides interesting information for both the researcher and browser alike. Recommended.—Library Media Connection

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