Reay Tannahill, food historian and historical novelist: born Glasgow 9 December ; married Michael Edwardes (died ; marriage. When Reay Tannahill began working on the book that became “Food in History,” she was entering virgin territory. No one before her had. Surveys the evolution of man’s diverse gastronomic habits, customs, and traditions against their cultural and historical background.

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An enthralling world history of food from prehistoric times to the present. A favorite of gastronomes and history buffs alike, Food in History is packed with intriguing information, lore, and startling insights–like what cinnamon had to do with the discovery of America, and how food has influenced population growth and urban expansion. Paperbacktannabill.

Published May 10th by Broadway Books first published January 1st To see what tannwhill friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Food in Historyplease sign up. Arjun Ravichandran There are illustrations in black and white. See 1 question about Food in History…. Lists with This Book. Jan 16, Lucinda rated it liked it Shelves: From a fellow bus rider: Mar 17, Ingrid Hardy rated it it was amazing Shelves: I read this book a few years ago softcover bookand it sits as a treasured book in my collection I’d like to have a hard cover of it one day.

Food in History by Reay Tannahill | : Books

This is a fantastic reference book. It begins where humans began, back in the caves, and gives archeological evidence as well as common sense theories on how certain foods likely came to be, such as yogurt and butter were probably discovered because of the practice of traveling with milk in the dried stomachs of animals.

And one thing leads to another I read this book a few years ago softcover bookand it sits as a treasured book in my collection I’d like to have a hard cover of it one day. And one thing leads to another. The book is full of fascinating points on the usage, origin and development of all kinds of food, and not just covering the western world. Nearly every country is mentioned, though as the author freely admits, written history needs to be taken with a I have several food history books in my collection – this one is my favorite that I flip through time and again.

View all 3 comments. Dec 06, Wayne rated it did not like it Shelves: I put this down for the moment and turned to Roger Osbourne’s Civilization: A New History of the Western World, to fill my history needs at the moment.

Thus, far, I’ve gotten to easily annoyed at some of the sweeping generalizzations and assumptions the author has made about what was chosen as the first methods of food, and the apparent lack of scholarship in how she decided. I’ll have to come back to it when I’m less annoyed with her approach to history.


Nov 04, Lorri rated it really liked it Shelves: I enjoy food histories and this was no exception. There were a few points that disagreed with other histories, most notably the idea that man once used spice to disguise rancid meat.

A History of Temptation” soundly refutes that idea. However, overall I thought it gave an excellent overview and serves as a good companion to other more focused food histories.

Foos not only describes these changes and, for example, regional differences in diet but also explains them, e. The book also demonstrates the wide-ranging impact of food-related issues on civilization. Thus science and technology are important e.

Changes in food can have long-lasting impacts. This doesn’t just refer to the change from hunting and gathering to domestication and farming but also, e.

Sri Lanka’s ethnic tensions similarly stem from plantations in the colonies. It was not the tea that the country formerly Ceylon is famous for, but instead for coffee, produced by Dutch colonists, that the Tamil workforce was brought to the plantations from India. A fascinating book tracing food from pre-cooking-with-fire beginnings to modern day preoccupations with obesity vs famine, food buzzwords like ‘natural’ ‘healthy’ ‘organic’, diseases such as BSE and Foot and Mouth, additives and genetic modification.

Aug 12, Nicole Means rated it really liked it. Concise history of food dating back to BCE to the s.

The publication date is over 30 years so it would be interesting to read an updated revision of this book. Aug 28, Arlian marked it ttannahill to-read. I decided I wanted to read this book for a very weird reason. Reynolds the author said something intriguing in a morbid train-crash kinda way.

Here is a direct quote from his article: This image of Africa stre Pre-review: This image of Africa stresses all the bad things about Africa, highlighting political corruption, famine, violence, and sickness as the defining characteristics of African life.

Anyone with experience in the diversity and edibility of African cooking would find this a laughable notion. Sadly, Tannahill’s book has been in print for three decades without this brutal absurdity being corrected. How can you write a book about food history and dismiss the entirety of Ethiopian, Hjstory, and Egyptian food, all know to be famously delicious and available even in America? And I haven’t even mentioned the fantabulous cuisines from literally dozens of other countries on the continent of Africa.

Reynolds wrote that article in So I was really curious about the status of this book now, in So I decided to take a break from my reading and pop on over to my favourite book reviewing site, good ol’ Goodreads to see how people feel about it now.

At this time of this writing, there are only 16 1-star reviews and 55 2-star reviews.

And none of the 1-star, 2-star, or 3-star reviews mention this. One person specially said “Holy Masculine Generic Batman! And this book is dated in other ways. Most reviewers also historh comfortable using the word “primitive” to describe people from the past and possibly presentwhich is very problematic.


So I decided I want to read this book specifically to do a more thought-out criticism of it as a colonialist, inherently racist book. And let me be clear–I basically think all history books are that, even though I like history books. When I finish the book, I will update my review but I will leave this part for future readers to understand the context of my relationship to and perspective of this book. Oct 30, Gphatty rated it it was amazing. One of my alltime favorites. The life of pepper could be hietory short story.

But more interesting to me was the description of the different practices cultures have surrounding eating. Banquet versus intimate dinner. Tabnahill about food — particularly the familiy meal — that I had never considered having had a origin someplace. Mar 09, Jessy Faiz rated it really liked it. Sebuah buku sejarah yang ditulis dengan menarik, ringan, dan mengandung subjek yang menarik pula: Dalam buku ini dihidangkan makanan dari masa ke masa, mulai dari masa prasejarah hingga masa keemasan Romawi, Revolusi Industri, dan masa modern.

Lebih dari itu, buku ini juga mengulas hubungan makanan dan keyakinan, trend pada masa tertentu, dan segala macam problema yang hadir karena makanan atau ketiadaan makanan.

Food in History

Dec 11, Heather rated it really liked it Shelves: I really enjoyed this book. It’s written in a very accessible, style, and I appreciated the author’s dry wit. She covers the history of food, from agricultural to culinary to cultural aspects, in most of the world’s major societies from neolithic atnnahill to the late 20th century the book was last revised in the s.

Highly recommended for any foodie history fodo. Mar 13, Krista rated it it was amazing. Kn, a whirlwind but fascinating tour of how food has shaped, well, everything! Sep 17, Tracy rated it liked it Shelves: Holy masculine generic, Batman! That shit is hella distracting, and the book is dated in other ways, too. I’ve read this twice cover to cover and possibly three times, I now can’t recall with certainty. As of the moment, I feel that I may read it again, it’s that well written and that unique.

Aug 09, angi rated it really liked it Shelves: Sep 24, Arjun Ravichandran rated it liked it. As the title indicates, this is an exposition on the role that food – its cultivation, enjoyment, transportation, and its politics – has played in history. As the tannahipl notes in her introduction, for all our technological savvy and utopian visions of the approaching singularity, the fact remains that humanity is still not rid of its all-too-earthly dependence on food.

The author begins by looking at the histpry of the human species ; forced onto the treacherous Savannah by the retreating ice caps As the title indicates, this is an exposition on the role that food – its cultivation, enjoyment, transportation, historg its politics – has played in history.