Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia
[4 volumes]
by Ken Albala, Editor
May 2011, 1434pp, 8 1/2x11
4 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-37626-9
$439, £338, 382€, A602
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-0-313-37627-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

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.

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
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.


Editors' Choice 2011—Booklist, January 1, 2012


"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, June 20, 2012

"Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates, general readers, and professionals/practitioners."—Choice, November 1, 2011

"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, October 1, 2011

"This is a quality encyclopedia with broad appeal especially for public libraries and undergraduate colleges and universities."—Library Journal, September 15, 2011
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.