A Movable Feast: Ten Millennia of Food Globalization

Kenneth F. Kiple, Author . Cambridge Univ. $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-521-79353-7

Recycling much historical material from the magisterial Cambridge World History of Food (which the author co-edited), this slender volume distills 10,000 years of food history into just 300 pages. While the first work was notable for its rich multiplicity of voices and deeply informed scholarship, this one is a bit of a hash, owing to its author's insistence on squeezing a far-ranging narrative into the narrow framework of globalism. Far from being a new economic concept, the globalization of food, asserts Kiple, is as old as agriculture itself (globalization being murkily defined as "a process of homogenization whereby the cuisines of the world have been increasingly untied from regional food production, and one that promises to make the foods of the world available to everyone in the world"). The strongest material examines the spread of agriculture and its ramifications: it's a paradox of civilization that increased food production encourages population growth, which invariably creates food shortages and disease. That said, gastronomes will find scraps to nibble on here and there—who knew, for example, that the Egyptians trained their monkeys to harvest grapes? (June)

Reviewed on: 04/02/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-511-28250-8
Paperback - 381 pages - 978-1-107-65745-8
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