Consuming Culture: Why You Eat What You Eat

Jeremy Macclancy, Author Henry Holt & Company $23 (246p) ISBN 978-0-8050-2578-1
This sly, rollicking cross-cultural account of eating and ``alimentary extremists'' may put some readers off their food. MacClancy ( To Kill a Bird with Two Stones ), a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute in Great Britain, has stocked his larder with wittily recorded gastronomic esoterica, manners and foolishness from the British Isles to the Amazon. These include horrific recipes for unspeakable morsels and stories about quixotic faddists such as the ``Great Masticator,'' Horace Fletcher, who advised 32 chews per mouthful. MacClancy proves that all societies have their own definitions of what is and is not edible. Also described here, the Hindu worship of cows, which makes the bovine a taboo food; American squeamishness about germs; the untutored eating habits of feral children; supposed aphrodisiacs; the shifting menus and hours of Western mealtimes and a harrowing report of the Japanese consumption of blow fish (so potentially deadly that eating it is akin to playing Russian Roulette). This altogether entertaining book's message? Eating is wonderful, but people are very silly about it. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-0-8050-3587-2
Open Ebook - 246 pages - 978-1-4668-8136-5
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