What we learn when an anthropologist and a historian talk about food.
From the origins of agriculture to contemporary debates over culinary authenticity, Ways of Eating introduces readers to world food history and food anthropology. Through engaging stories and historical deep dives, Benjamin A. Wurgaft and Merry I. White offer new ways to understand food in relation to its natural and cultural histories and the social rules that shape our meals.
Wurgaft and White use vivid storytelling to bring food practices to life, weaving stories of Panamanian coffee growers, medieval women beer makers, and Japanese knife forgers. From the Venetian spice trade to the Columbian Exchange, from Roman garum to Vietnamese nớc chấm, Ways of Eating provides an absorbing account of world food history and anthropology. Migration, politics, and the dynamics of group identity all shape what we eat, and we can learn to trace these social forces from the plate to the kitchen, the factory, and the field.
About the Author
Benjamin A. Wurgaft is a writer and historian. His previous books include Meat Planet: Artificial Flesh and the Future of Food and Thinking in Public: Strauss, Levinas, Arendt.
Merry I. White is Professor of Anthropology at Boston University. Her previous books include Coffee Life in Japan and Perfectly Japanese: Making Families in an Era of Upheaval. The Japanese government has honored her work in the anthropology of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun.
"In a study that arcs gracefully from our changing understanding of the Neolithic Revolution to the era of genetically modified organisms, fast food, Slow Food, and environmental depletion, the focus is forward-facing." — World of Fine Wine
"Food has always provided ways of expressing cultural identity, regional differences, degrees of sophistication and economic status. Wurgaft and White trace these processes over centuries and across the globe. Their conclusions are both celebratory and thought-provoking." — Inside Story
"[A]t its heart, Ways of Eating is a love letter to the anthropology and history of food." — Current