At the Table
Food and Family around the World
by Ken Albala, Editor
April 2016, 342pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-737-8
$108, £84, 94€, A148
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-738-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

How and what people eat relates to their culture, socioeconomic status, and religion.

What's for dinner? Not just in America, but around the world? And how is it cooked, what's the historical significance of that food, how is it served and consumed, and who gets to clean up? This book provides fascinating insight into how dinner is defined in countries around the world.

Almost universally, “dinner” is a key meal in most countries around the world, whether it be a simple dish of rice and beans, a slice of pizza on the go, or a multi-course formal meal. What do the specifics of how a meal is eaten—by hand instead of with utensils, for example—say about a specific culture? This fascinating one-volume reference guide examines all aspects of dinner in international settings, enabling insightful cross-cultural comparisons and an understanding of the effects of modernization and globalization on food habits.

Some 50 countries are covered in chapters focusing on present-day meal habits in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and North and South America. The commentary covers everything about the meal, such as the time, the cooking and preparation, shopping for ingredients, the clean-up process, gender-based participation roles, conversation or other social interactions, and etiquette—just about everything that happens at the table. The book is ideal for classroom teaching and learning, as the entries and photos are conducive to teaching students about other cultures, directly supporting the National Geography Standards. Students will be able to make informed comparisons between their own lives and the various cultural experiences described in the book.


  • Provides intimate insights into a broad range of international food habits, thereby affording readers a glimpse into the daily lives of people around the world and offering immense opportunities for cross cultural comparisons
  • Compares cooking methods, gender roles regarding food and meals, and the places of children or extended relatives at meal time
  • Underscores how food culture is universally and intrinsically related to ethnicity, family, and meal-time tradition
  • Presents a combination of reference narrative, photographs, and recipes that make this a one-stop reference source ideal for students learning about other cultures
Ken Albala is professor of history and director of food studies at the University of the Pacific. He is the author or editor of 22 books on food, including academic monographs, encyclopedias, cookbooks, translations, and popular food histories. Albala is editor of ABC-CLIO's Food Culture around the World series and of Greenwood's From Famine to Fast Food: Nutrition, Diet, and Concepts of Health around the World and Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia.


Gourmand Award Winner in the Food & Family Category —Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, January 3, 2017


"Overall, this work educates readers on what it means to be 'at the table' throughout the world. It is accessible to everyone—and all who love to cook . . . . Summing Up: Recommended. All levels of students; general readers; professionals/practitioners."—Choice, October 3, 2016

"This tasty roundup of global meal rituals (including recipes!) will be a welcome addition."—Library Journal, August 1, 2016

"This is an interesting introduction to world culinary traditions that will be a useful resource for students of anthropology, sociology, food studies, and culinary arts."—Booklist, July 20, 2016

"This is a fascinating work that contains much valuable material. . . . [I[t will be welcome in large collections and those specializing in the culinary arts."—ARBA, September 8, 2016
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.