The Oxford Companion to Food

Front Cover
Alan Davidson, Tom Jaine
OUP Oxford, Sep 21, 2006 - Business & Economics - 907 pages
10 Reviews
The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson, first published in 1999, became, almost overnight, an immense success, winning prizes and accolades around the world. Its combination of serious food history, culinary expertise, and entertaining serendipity, with each page offering an infinity of perspectives, was recognized as unique. The study of food and food history is a new discipline, but one that has developed exponentially in the last twenty years. There are now university departments, international societies, learned journals, and a wide-ranging literature exploring the meaning of food in the daily lives of people around the world, and seeking to introduce food and the process of nourishment into our understanding of almost every compartment of human life, whether politics, high culture, street life, agriculture, or life and death issues such as conflict and war. The great quality of this Companion is the way it includes both an exhaustive catalogue of the foods that nourish humankind - whether they be fruit from tropical forests, mosses scraped from adamantine granite in Siberian wastes, or body parts such as eyeballs and testicles - and a richly allusive commentary on the culture of food, whether expressed in literature and cookery books, or as dishes peculiar to a country or community. The new edition has not sought to dim the brilliance of Davidson's prose. Rather, it has updated to keep ahead of a fast-moving area, and has taken the opportunity to alert readers to new avenues in food studies.

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Review: The Oxford Companion to Food 2nd Ed

User Review  - Julie Davis - Goodreads

I've had this book for some time and have had a lot of fun randomly dipping into it now and than. Being the sort of family that we are, we have also spent a lot of time looking up answers to food ... Read full review

Review: The Oxford Companion to Food 2nd Ed

User Review  - Deborah J. - Goodreads

WAITING to get this as a birthday present! (But no pressure...) :) Read full review

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About the author (2006)


Alan Davidson was a distinguished author and publisher, and one of the world's best-known writers on fish and fish cookery. In 1975 he retired early from the diplomatic serivice - after serving in, among other places, Washington, Egypt, Tunisia, and Laos, where he was British Ambassador - to pursue a fruitful second career as a food historian and food writer extraordinaire. Among his popular books are North Atlantic Seafood and Mediterrranean Seafood. In 2003, shortly before his death, he was awarded the Erasmus Prize for his contribution to European culture. Tom Jaine is an independent writer and publisher, specializing in food and food history. He is the author of numerous books, including Cooking in the Country, Making Bread at Home, and Traditional Country House Cooking. He frequently writes for The Times, The Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph, the Evening Standard, and many magazines and journals. He was editor of The Good Food Guide from 1989 to 1994, has presented 'The Food Programme' on Radio 4, and has frequently participated in discussions of food on radio and television. Jane Davidson is Alan Davidson's widow, and assisted him in his work, in particular as co-author of Dumas on Food. She has written many reviews of food books for Petits Propos Culinaires. She has also worked for the British Council. Helen Saberi was Alan Davidson's personal assistant, and worked very closely with him on the first edition of the Companion, as contributor, researcher, fact-checker, and proofreader. She is co-author with Alan Davidson of Trifle and The Wilder Shores of Gastronomy.

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