In Near a Thousand Tables, acclaimed food historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto tells the fascinating story of food as cultural as well as culinary history -- a window on the history of mankind.
In this "appetizingly provocative" (Los Angeles Times) book, he guides readers through the eight great revolutions in the world history of food: the origins of cooking, which set humankind on a course apart from other species; the ritualization of eating, which brought magic and meaning into people's relationship with what they ate; the inception of herding and the invention of agriculture, perhaps the two greatest revolutions of all; the rise of inequality, which led to the development of haute cuisine; the long-range trade in food which, practically alone, broke down cultural barriers; the ecological exchanges, which revolutionized the global distribution of plants and livestock; and, finally, the industrialization and globalization of mass-produced food.
From prehistoric snail "herding" to Roman banquets to Big Macs to genetically modified tomatoes, Near a Thousand Tables is a full-course meal of extraordinary narrative, brilliant insight, and fascinating explorations that will satisfy the hungriest of readers.
Rob Morse San Francisco Chronicle Fernández-Armesto picks apart the myths of food history with the delectation of a connoisseur picking apart a lobster.
Betty Fussell The New York Times Book Review Fernández-Armesto brings a humanity, civility, and excitement to serious food writing that may not have been seen since Brillat-Savarin.
The New York Times Highly provocative and entertaining...an erudite and surprising book with many eye-opening pleasures.