World Food: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Social Influence from Hunter-Gatherers to the Age of Globalization

2 vols. 800p. appendix. bibliog. charts. chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. M.E. Sharpe. 2012. PLB $249. ISBN 978-0-7656-8278-9. LC 2012014375. Online: Sharpe Online Reference
RedReviewStarGr 6 Up–These 350-plus alphabetically arranged entries relate the history of food and describe its influence on human history and culture. They run from a few paragraphs to four pages in length and cover food from the earliest "founder" crops and domestication of animals to modern fusion cuisines and "green" farming and diets. Topics include a wide variety of the world's most common foods and beverages, explorers such as Marco Polo and Columbus, Age of Exploration trading companies that created the worldwide food trade, innovators and scientists who have improved production or delivery, historical and contemporary cuisines of various ethnicities and cultures, and famous chefs. There are also more than 60 recipes for regional and ethnic dishes, most using traditional ingredients. Articles include short bibliographies and are cross referenced, and the general index is both extensive and easy to use. Black-and-white photos add little to the text, however. Students will find this set well written, interesting, and accessible. More importantly, its concise overviews will allow them to see how much of human history, from the first farmers to the age of exploration to the modern era, has been driven by the quest for more or better food, making it a solid choice for purchase.—Mary Mueller, formerly at Rolla Junior igh School, MO

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