Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Foods That Changed History: How Foods Shaped Civilization from the Ancient World to the Present

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Foods That Changed History: How Foods Shaped Civilization from the Ancient World to the Present

Article excerpt

Foods That Changed History: How Foods Shaped Civilization from the Ancient World to the Present. By Christopher Cumo. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2015. 451 p. Acidfree $100 (ISBN 978-1-1108-3536-0). Ebook available (9781-4408-3537-7) call for pricing.

Foods that Changed History: How Foods Shaped Civilization from the Ancient World to the Present, is an expansive work with almost 100 entries that cover a wide range of foods that have had a major historical impact. The entries summarize the origin of the foods and then cover the periods in time that they were culturally significant to different societies for a variety of reasons.

It is important to note from the start that this work is intended as an introduction for students to the food studies field. Arranged in an encyclopedic format with alphabetic entries, it is easy to navigate and the entries receive equal treatment throughout. Students from a variety of disciplines would consider this a valuable tool when beginning their research because Cumo has done an excellent job of balancing the dry factual information with the more interesting analysis of how the different foods helped shape different cultures and at times served as the catalyst for major change or discovery. An example of this would be Cumo's entry on cinnamon that details its role in the spice trade that led to greater exploration on other continents by Europeans. …

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