Food in Early Modern Europe

Food in Early Modern Europe

Food in Early Modern Europe

Food in Early Modern Europe

Synopsis

"This unique book examines food's importance during the massive evolution of Europe following the Middle Ages. It was a time when even forks and table manners were remarkable and new. Food became a cardinal concern in explorations of the New World, as well as a fundamental element of global trade. Agricultural revolution gave rise to new farming methods. Science illuminated diet and nutrition. Food historian Ken Albala has written the perfect book for students and other readers interested in the myriad aspects of food in Early Modern Europe. This guide also includes many period recipes, never before available in English, along with evocative illustrations and a timeline." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

We are a people used to change, especially when it comes to what we eat. Although many of our favorite foods have been around for a long time, the way they are grown or raised, their preparation and in particular the way they are marketed and sold to us changes every day. There are also new technologies such as genetically modified foods, new convenience foods and preservative techniques, new scientific studies of health and nutrition and new and exotic foods from around the world. We take for granted that something new and improved will appear on our plates every day. It is safe to say that the way we eat has been completely transformed in the past century or so. Consider refrigeration and freezing, canning, industrial-scale agriculture, fast food, brand names, and giant multinational food corporations. All of these were unheard of a hundred years ago. We are living in the middle of a major transformation of food culture and technology.

Change is, of course, a constant in human history, but changes of this magnitude are something very rare. The first major transformation occurred when our ancestors gradually left their hunting and gathering lifestyle for settled agriculture and cattle-raising. Known as the Agricultural Revolution, this occurred independently at various times around the globe, but first began after about 8500 B.C. in the fertile crescent of what is today Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. It gradually spread, reaching Europe between 7000 and 3000 B.C. This movement was more than merely changing from a nomadic life of constantly following the herds and foraging for wild plants, to a life of farming and keeping domesticated animals like sheep, goats and . . .

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