Pick of the picture books: A History of Food
Friday 17 October 2008
In a history of human appetite and consumption that stretches from mammoth steak, through farming and stock-breeding, past the discovery of cocoa all the way to Escoffier and beyond, how did we end up in a century in which our preoccupation with food centres on obesity, genetic modification and celebrity diet fads?
A History of Food, by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat (Wiley-Blackwell, £22.99), first published in France in 1987, has been updated and re-issued with a new introduction in an effort to address this. This excellent guide is an exploration of man's relationship with food from the discovery of fire onwards, and as such portrays a complicated journey, increasingly rooted in sociology and psychology rather than in the physiological need of food for survival. An introduction by the New York Times food writer Betty Fussell explores man's relation-ship with hunger; 70 black-and-white illustrations and a section of glossy colour plates illustrate our transition from a vegetable and cereal-based diet to one in which westerners expect meat at every meal; the environmental implications of this appetite are starkly laid out. Here, a world of plenty is contrasted with a world of want.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West