Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People, Third Edition
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An illuminating account of how history shapes our diets—now in a new revised and updated Third Edition

Why did the ancient Romans believe cinnamon grew in swamps guarded by giant killer bats? How did African cultures imported by slavery influence cooking in the American South? What does the 700-seat McDonald's in Beijing serve in the age of globalization? With the answers to these and many more such questions, Cuisine and Culture, Third Edition presents an engaging, entertaining, and informative exploration of the interactions among history, culture, and food.

From prehistory and the earliest societies in the Fertile Crescent to today's celebrity chefs, Cuisine and Culture, Third Edition presents a multicultural and multiethnic approach to understanding how and why major historical events have affected and defined the culinary traditions in different societies. Now revised and updated, this Third Edition is more comprehensive and insightful than ever before.
  • Covers prehistory through the present day—from the discovery of fire to the emergence of television cooking shows
  • Explores how history, culture, politics, sociology, and religion have determined how and what people have eaten through the ages
  • Includes a sampling of recipes and menus from different historical periods and cultures
  • Features French and Italian pronunciation guides, a chronology of food books and cookbooks of historical importance, and an extensive bibliography
  • Includes all-new content on technology, food marketing, celebrity chefs and cooking television shows, and Canadian cuisine.
Complete with revealing historical photographs and illustrations, Cuisine and Culture is an essential introduction to food history for students, history buffs, and food lovers.


LINDA CIVITELLO holds an MA in History from UCLA and a BA in English from Vassar. She has taught food history at Le Cordon Bleu and Art Institutes culinary schools, and has recorded an audio tour on food and art for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The first edition of Cuisine and Culture won the 2003 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Culinary History Book in English, United States.


Antipasto/Antojitos/Amuse-Bouches: Food for Thought viii

Acknowledgments xii

From Raw to Cooked: Prehistory, Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India 1

Prehistory 1

The Ancient Agricultural Revolution 5

The Fertile Crescent 9

Egypt: The Nile River 13

China: The Yellow (Huang He) River 18

India: The Indus River 21

Grain, Grape, Olive: The Ancient Mediterranean 25

The Mediterranean Sea 25

Greece 26

Rome 38

Crazy Bread, Coff ee, and Courtly Manners: Christendom and Islam in the Middle Ages, 500–1453 58

Christendom: Western Europe, 500–1000 59

Byzantium: The Eastern Roman Empire 65

The Muslim Empire 67

Christendom: The Late Middle Ages in Europe 74

New World Food: Potato, Corn, Chile, Chocolate 89

The Search for Spices 89

The American Empires 92

South America: The Inca Empire 93

Central America: Vanilla 101

Central America: Maya Mystery 103

Central America: The Aztec Empire 107

North America: Cahokia 116

Columbus Sets Sail for the Americas: 1492 116

Food Goes Global: The Columbian Exchange 119

The Age of Exploration 119

The Columbian Exchange 120

Old World to New 121

New World to Old 136

America from Colony to Country: Sacred Cod, Black Rice, Maple Moon, 1588–1850 151

The Mercantile System 151

Colonial America 152

A New People and a New Cuisine 167

Hutsepot, Stove Potatoes, and Haute Cuisine: Seventeenthto Eighteenth-Century Dutch, Russian, and French Cuisine 182

The Scientific Revolution 182

The Golden Age of the Netherlands 183

The Russian Bear 189

France: Haute and Nouvelle Cuisine 195

The French Revolution: "Let Them Eat Cake" 203

The Napoleonic Era: 1799–1815 207

Napoleon's Aftermath 215

Cattle, Coca-Cola, Cholera: The United States and Europe, 1850–1900 217

The American South 217

The American Civil War: 1850–1865 220

Reconstruction: 1865–1877 223

The West: Railroad and Indian Wars, 1860s–1886 225

The Gilded Age 231

Nineteenth-Century Health Food Movements 240

Europe: Nutrition, Sanitation, Evolution 244

Africa and Asia: Native vs. Colonial Cuisine 258

Food Patterns 258

Africa: Shea Butter, Kola Nuts, Monkey Bread 258

India: Not Just Curry and Chutney 266

China: Tea and Opium 274

Korea: Kimchee and Pulgogi 282

Vietnam: Spring Rolls and Pâté 283

Indonesia: The Spice Islands 283

The Philippines: Chinese-Spanish Fusion 285

Thailand (Siam): Lemongrass and Jasmine Rice 285

Japan: Tempura and Umami 287

The Purity Crusade, Cuisine Classique, and Prohibition: 1900–1929 in Europe and the United States 295

The New Immigrants and the Melting Pot 295

Progressives and the Purity Crusade 300

Escoffi er and Ritz: Cuisine Classique and the Grand Hotels 309

World War I and the Russian Revolution 316

The Roaring Twenties in the United States 323

Soup Kitchens, Spam, and TV Dinners: The Depression, World War II, and the Cold War 334

The Depression and the New Deal 334

World War II 343

The Cold War 352

The Fast-Food Fifties 354

The Sixties: Revolutions in Color 359

Agribusiness vs. Organic: The 1970s into the Third Millennium 364

The Seventies: Food Revolutions 364

The Eighties: Political and Restaurant Revolutions 367

The Nineties: The Celebrity Chef 373

The New Millennium and the Future of Food 381

Appendix A: French Pronunciation 404

Appendix B: Italian Pronunciation 405

Appendix C: Major Wars and Battles 406

Appendix D: Selected Cookbook and Food Books Chronology 408

Notes 411

Selected Bibliography 424

Index 431