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The History of Taste

Paul Freedman


Surveys the history of changing tastes in food and fine dining – what was available for people to eat, and how it was prepared and served – from prehistory to the present day

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Since earliest times food has encompassed so much more than just what we eat – whole societies can be revealed and analysed by their cusines. In this wide-ranging book, leading historians from Europe and America piece together from a myriad sources the culinary accomplishments of diverse civilizations, past and present, and the pleasures of dining.

Ten chapters cover the food and taste of the hunter-gatherers and first farmers of Prehistory; the rich Mediterranean cultures of Ancient Greece and Rome; the development of gastronomy in Imperial China; Medieval Islamic cuisine; European food in the Middle Ages; the decisive changes in food fashions after the Renaissance; the effect of the Industrial Revolution on what people ate; the rise to dominance of French cuisine in the 19th and 20th centuries; the evolution of the restaurant; the contemporary situation where everything from slow to fast food vies for our attention. Throughout, the entertaining story of worldwide food traditions provides the ideal backdrop to today’s roaming the globe for great gastronomic experiences.

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'A savoury collection ... splendidly illustrated ... the perfect present for the curious foodie in your life'

'Taste, this book reminds us, is an essential part of civilization. And it is something worth protecting from the homogenizing force of the modern, global food supply'
Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse restaurant, California

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 368 pp

Illustrations: 28

Publication date: 23 May 2019

ISBN: 9780500295373

About the Author

Paul Freedman is Chester D. Tripp Professor of History at Yale and a former Chairman of the Department of History there. He specializes in medieval social history, the history of Catalonia and the history of cuisine. His latest book is Ten Restaurants that Changed America.