Food and World Culture
Issues, Impacts, and Ingredients
by Linda S. Watts and Kelty Clark-Mahoney
August 2022, 785pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6999-0
$214, £165, 187€, A294
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7000-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

To what degree are we responsible for what and how we eat? How does food knowledge promote a more equitable, just, and peaceful world? The answers to these questions may change the way that you eat forever.

This book uses food as a lens through which to explore important matters of society and culture. In exploring why and how people eat around the globe, the text focuses on issues of health, conflict, struggle, contest, inequality, and power.

Whether because of its necessity, pleasure, or ubiquity, the world of food (and its lore) proves endlessly fascinating to most people. The story of food is a narrative filled with both human striving and human suffering. However, many of today’s diners are only dimly aware of the human price exacted for that comforting distance from the lived-world realities of food justice struggles. With attention to food issues ranging from local farming practices to global supply chains, this book examines how food’s history and geography remain inextricably linked to sociopolitical experiences of trauma connected with globalization, such as colonization, conquest, enslavement, and oppression.

The main text is structured alphabetically around a set of 70 ingredients, from almonds to yeast. Each ingredient’s story is accompanied by recipes. Along with the food profiles, the encyclopedia features sidebars. These are short discussions of topics of interest related to food, including automats, diners, victory gardens, and food at world’s fairs. This project also brings a social justice perspective to its content—weighing debates concerning food access, equity, insecurity, and politics.


  • Consolidates the historical and geographical "backstory" of common foods and ingredients
  • Poses possibilities in terms of the ways food studies can contribute to building a more inclusive, equitable, and humane world
  • Considers the future of food, as informed by phenomena from climate change to global pandemic
  • Includes adapted recipes with an in-depth analysis of ingredients
Linda S. Watts is professor of American studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Bothell.

Kelty Clark-Mahoney is a chef, educator, and independent scholar focused on issues of food insecurity and sustainability.
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