Food, Medicine, and the Quest for Good Health: Nutrition, Medicine, and Culture

Nancy N. Chen, Author Columbia University Press $26.5 (128p) ISBN 978-0-231-13484-2
In this slim volume, UC Santa Cruz anthropology professor Chen sums up key points of convergence between food and health throughout history. A brief overview of Chinese, Greek and Islamic approaches to health, the rise of vitamins and other supplements, reported benefits of foodstuffs like gingko and ginseng, and the role of spices will inform, though Chen's wide-angle focus doesn't allow for much elaboration or depth. A handful of recipes like Ginger Garlic Tea with Lime and Honey (a simple, restorative remedy for cold and flu sufferers) and Rice Porridge and Wolfberry Soup (said to nourish the kidneys and liver) help make Chen's point, but, again, they're too few and far between to satisfy. Those looking for a brief, high-level overview of food's impact on human health and the cultural attitudes pertaining will find this educational, but readers looking for real depth and insight will find Chen's work more an appetizer than a main dish.
Reviewed on: 12/01/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-231-50891-9
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