Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History

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Univ of California Press, Nov 21, 2013 - Cooking - 482 pages
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Rachel Laudan tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of the world’s great cuisines—from the mastery of grain cooking some twenty thousand years ago, to the present—in this superbly researched book. Probing beneath the apparent confusion of dozens of cuisines to reveal the underlying simplicity of the culinary family tree, she shows how periodic seismic shifts in "culinary philosophy"—beliefs about health, the economy, politics, society and the gods—prompted the construction of new cuisines, a handful of which, chosen as the cuisines of empires, came to dominate the globe.

Cuisine and Empire shows how merchants, missionaries, and the military took cuisines over mountains, oceans, deserts, and across political frontiers. Laudan’s innovative narrative treats cuisine, like language, clothing, or architecture, as something constructed by humans. By emphasizing how cooking turns farm products into food and by taking the globe rather than the nation as the stage, she challenges the agrarian, romantic, and nationalistic myths that underlie the contemporary food movement.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Mastering Grain Cookery 20000300 BCE
9
2 The BarleyWheat Sacrificial Cuisines of the Ancient Empires 500 BCE400 CE
56
3 Buddhism Transforms the Cuisines of South and East Asia 260 BCE800 CE
102
4 Islam Transforms the Cuisines of Central and West Asia 8001650 CE
132
5 Christianity Transforms the Cuisines of Europe and the Americas 1001650 CE
166
Northern Europe 16501800
207
The Expansion of Middling Cuisines 18101920
248
The Globalization of Middling Cuisines 19202000
308
Notes
361
Bibliography
393
Index
439
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About the author (2013)

Rachel Laudan is the prize-winning author of The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii’s Culinary Heritage and a coeditor of the Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science.

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