Food Fights and Culture Wars: A Secret History of Taste

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Revolution! Conflict! Gluttony! In this eclectic book of food history, Tom Nealon takes on such overlooked themes as carp and the Crusades, brown sauce and Byron, and chillies and cannibalism, and suggests that hunger and taste are the twin forces that secretly defined the course of civilization. Through war and plague, revolution and migration, people have always had to eat. What and how they ate provoked culinary upheaval around the world as ingredients were traded and fought over, and populations desperately walked the line between satiety and starvation. Parallel to the history books, a second, obscurer history was also being recorded in the cookbooks of the time, which charted the evolution of meals and the transmission of ingredients around the world. The history of food is filled with mythical origin stories, dubious recipes, and fierce nationalism. Secret History of Taste explores the mysteries at the intersection of food and society, and attempts to make sense of the curious area between fact and fiction. Beautifully illustrated with material from the collection of the British Library, this wide-ranging book addresses some of the fascinating, forgotten stories behind everyday dishes and processes. Among many conspiracies and controversies, the author meditates on the connections between the French Revolution and table settings, food thickness and colonialism, and lemonade and the Black Plague. Selected for the Guardian's Best Books on Food of 2016.

Published: 13 October 2016

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: The British Library Publishing Division 

ISBN: 978-0712356589

Dimensions: 25.3 x 2.8 x 17.9 cm

This product is also available to purchase from the Somerset House Shop, East Wing, Somerset House.

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