Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Wiley; 3 edition (March 29, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #78,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #55 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > International #115 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking Education & Reference > History #160 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking Education & Reference > Essays
I am ashamed to say that I used this book as the central material for a course I taught before I read the entire work. To Civitello's credit, the majority of her work IS factual, but as other reviewers have pointed out, there are some GLARING errors. Two of my favorites: the author recounts the tradition of Passover and its foods under the heading "Pyramid-Builder Food". In the eleventh chapter the author claims that the Italian word "ciao" was caused by the presence of American soldiers in Italy during WWII, when poor Italians would beg the soldiers for food only knowing the word "chow" (she cites no source for this strange idea). There is no archeological evidence to support the biblical account of the Jews in Egypt and even if there were, they certainly didn't build pyramids as this practice was stopped long before Ramses ascended the throne. The Italian word "ciao" was used for CENTURIES before WWII. Even appearing in Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" which was published in 1929, in English (of course). I have found it embarrassing to have to explain these oddities to students while instructing them to avoid inaccuracies in their own work (and avoid choosing a text for a class without reading it thoroughly). Yes, it is an entertaining read but it is too unreliable. Like other reviewers, I'm wondering where the editor has been for the past three editions! Tom Standage's "An Edible History..." Is more accurate but less entertaining with fewer details concerning individual dishes. If you are merely looking for a good bedtime story, by all means buy Civitello's book. If you looking for accurate information, you are better off buying something else!
This book is responsible for my current lack of sleep. It is absolutely riveting and a most amazing history of cuisine within its cultural context. As an agribusiness academic who also loves to cook recipes from many different parts of the world, this book was a revelation. As the author admits, she can only paint with a broad brush and invites readers to explore any particular aspect by consulting other more in-depth books. Just amazing.
A basic introduction to any person interested in the history of food from Prehistory to the 20th century. Specially useful for high school courses or College's freshman courses if accompanied by other reading materials. It has recipes, maps, pictures, tables, myths, and interesting stories. The book is well written and is fun to read.
I use this book as a text to introduce the history and cultural dimensions of food. I have also purchased it as a gift for my friends who are history buffs and food lovers. It is concise and packed full of humor, content, recipes, charts and tables to support what is known and what is yet to be discovered. Hats off to Civitello for a wonderful compilation of information. I reviewed many books before selecting this one. It stands alone in presentation and blending of history and food.
I ordered this book for my son who needed it for one of his classes in culinary school. I glanced through it and found it to be interesting and full of information I never knew. Now I can't wait to read it when my son is through with it! He is really enjoying the class and the knowledge he"s getting from this book. The book tells you all about different cultures from practically the cave man days through today, the foods ate, and the social, religious, and differentcustoms they practiced. It also explains a lot of myths and beliefs associated with foods.
I would NOT call this book factual. Her dates are all off. In fact, I think it's shameful that anyone teaching a class in any school should ever use this book.Examples:She says that the earliest hominid were found in SPAIN, 12 million years ago. Where in the world did she come up with that date and Spain? The earliest fossil record of humans dates back 7 million years ago in Africa not Spain.Her concept of stone sculptures is off by thousands of years.She says that chiles and squash were cultivated in Mexico 8,000 years ago. According to findings at by the National Academy of Sciences, the earliest cultivation dates of chili is 6,500 years ago.The lima bean is a native of Guatemala, it was traded in ancient cultures but not cultivated until later. Linda Civitello states that it was cultivated in Peru 8,000 years ago.Medieval warm period 950 - 1300 but she neglects to state that the SMALL ICEAGE begins in the 14th century. That temperatures are so severe that crops fall all over Europe for 500 years.She says that foods go Global in 1003 based on the Vikings; however, the food trade dates back thousands of years with hunters and gathers and the cultivation of wheat, barley, fava beans, chickpeas and vegetables and tubers. Early cultivation of numerous fruits came from Asia.This non-factural data is continued throughout this book. As an archaeologist, I don't understand how she was able to get this book published let alone have schools allow her to teach false information. I purchased this book used and it was obvious that it was used in a school classroom because of the extensive underlining. Seeing the underlining of made-up facts that she would use on a quiz was horrifying. I feel sorry for all those students who took her class and future students who read her book.
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