Food and Faith in Christian Culture

Front Cover
Ken Albala, Trudy Eden
Columbia University Press, Dec 27, 2011 - Cooking - 272 pages
0 Reviews
Without a uniform dietary code, Christians around the world used food in strikingly different ways, developing widely divergent practices that spread, nurtured, and strengthened their religious beliefs and communities. These never-before published essays map the intersection of food and faith over the past five centuries, charting the complex relationship between religious eating habits and politics, social structure and culture.

Theoretically rich and full of engaging portraits, essays consider the rise of food buying and consumerism in the fourteenth century, the Reformation ideology of fasting and its resulting sanctions against sumptuous eating, the gender and racial politics of sacramental food production in colonial America, and the struggle to define “enlightened” Lenten dietary restrictions in early modern France. Essays on the nineteenth century explore the religious implications of wheat growing and breadmaking among New Zealand’s Maori population and the revival of the Agape meal, or love feast, among American brethren in Christ Church. Twentieth-century topics include the metaphysical significance of vegetarianism, the role of diet in Greek Orthodoxy, American Christian weight loss programs, and the practice of silent eating rituals among English Benedictine monks. Two essays introduce the volume, with one explaining the important themes tying all the essays together, and the other surveying food’s part in developing and disseminating the teachings of Christianity and its tangible embodiment of the experience of faith.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Historical Background to Food and Christianity
Shopping and Consumption
The Ideology of Fasting in
Sumptuary Prohibitions
Bread Maize Women
Religious Conviction
Meal in the Late Nineteenth and Early
Why Food
Fasting and Food Habits in the Eastern
A Cultural Analysis
Eating in Silence in an English Benedictine

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Ken Albala is professor of history at the University of the Pacific. His many books include Eating Right in the Renaissance; The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe; Beans: A History; and The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe at a Time. He is also the coeditor of the journal Food Culture and Society, as well as several food series and the Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia.

Trudy Eden is an associate professor at the University of Northern Iowa and writes about all the many things people do with food. Her other books are The Early American Table: Food and Society in the New World and Cooking in Early America, 1590-1840.

Bibliographic information