Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia: Volume 2

ABC-CLIO
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From babka to baklava to the groundnut stew of Ghana, food culture can tell us where we've been--and maybe even where we're going. Filled with succinct, yet highly informative entries, the four-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia covers all of the planet's nation-states, as well as various tribes and marginalized peoples. Thus, in addition to coverage on countries as disparate as France, Ethiopia, and Tibet, there are also entries on Roma Gypsies, the Maori of New Zealand, and the Saami of northern Europe. There is even a section on food in outer space, detailing how and what astronauts eat and how they prepare for space travel as far as diet and nutrition are concerned.

Each entry offers information about foodstuffs, meals, cooking methods, recipes, eating out, holidays and celebrations, and health and diet. Vignettes help readers better understand other cultures, while the inclusion of selected recipes lets them recreate dishes from other lands.

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About the author

Ken Albala is professor of history at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA.

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Additional Information

Publisher
ABC-CLIO
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Published on
Dec 31, 2011
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Pages
1400
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ISBN
9780313376269
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Agriculture & Food
Social Science / Customs & Traditions
Social Science / Popular Culture
Social Science / Reference
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The text begins with a comprehensive theory of cuisine in the introduction and moves to the parallel culinary histories of Italy, Mexico, and China: the independent domestication of crops in each, the social, political, and technological developments that gave rise to each cuisine, and cooking in both professional and home settings. It also compares the internal logic of the cooking style and techniques in a way that will resonate with students. The meat of the text compares and contrasts the three cuisines in chapters on grains and starches; vegetables; fruits and nuts; meat, poultry, and dairy products; fish and shellfish; fats and flavorings; and beverages. Readers are taken on a fascinating journey of discovery, where the background story of mis-transmission, adaptation, and evolution of cooking as it spreads around the globe with trade and immigration is revealed. It answers the big questions, such as, why did the wok prevail in China, while the sautée pan and comal were used in Italy and Mexico, respectively? Why is bread baked in the Mediterranean but more often steamed in the Far East? How are certain ingredients used in completely different ways by different cultures and why? Why is corn transformed into tortillas and tamales in one place and into polenta in another? Why do we find tomato salsa in the Americas, long-cooked sauces in Italy, and tomatoes mixed with scrambled eggs in China? Albala also challenges the notion of authenticity, providing ample evidence that cuisines are constantly evolving, adapting over time according to ingredients and cooking technologies. More than 150 of Albala’s recipes complete the instruction, inspiring readers to learn how to cook in a fundamental way.

Russia and the newly independent states of Central Asia are struggling to reassert or create national identities and are receiving fresh attention from the West. After decades of oblivion, the vast Eurasian continent is once again divulging its intense cultural heritage and foodways to the international community. The diversity of food cultures within the former Soviet Union, with more than 100 distinct nationalities, is overwhelming, but this book brilliantly distills the main elements of contemporary cuisine and food-related customs for students and foodies. Vibrant descriptions of the legacy of the Silk Road; the classic foods such as kasha, pirogi, non (flatbread), pickles, and shashlyk (shish kebab); the over-the-top Moscow theme restaurants; and meals at the dacha and tea time are just some of the highlights.

Russia and the newly independent states of Central Asia are struggling to reassert or create national identities and are receiving fresh attention from the West. After decades of oblivion, the vast Eurasian continent is once again divulging its intense cultural heritage and foodways to the international community. The diversity of food cultures within the former Soviet Union, with more than 100 distinct nationalities, is overwhelming, but Food Culture in Russia and Central Asia brilliantly distills the main elements of contemporary cuisine and food-related customs for students and foodies. Vibrant descriptions of the legacy of the Silk Road; the classic foods such as kasha, pirogi, non (flatbread), pickles, and shashlyk (shish kebab); the over-the-top Moscow theme restaurants; and meals at the dacha and tea time are just some of the highlights.

After centuries of contact and conflict among peoples of Eurasia, Russian and Central Asian cuisines and culinary cultures have much in common. To understand one, the other must be considered as well. Russia and Central Asia cuisines share many ingredients, dishes, and customs. This volume strives to emphasize the evolving and multifaceted nature of the food cultures. Readers will be able to appreciate the ingredients, cooking methods, and traditions that make up the Eurasian foodways.

Eating right has been an obsession for longer than we think. Renaissance Europe had its own flourishing tradition of dietary advice. Then, as now, an industry of experts churned out diet books for an eager and concerned public. Providing a cornucopia of information on food and an intriguing account of the differences between the nutritional logic of the past and our own time, this inviting book examines the wide-ranging dietary literature of the Renaissance. Ken Albala ultimately reveals the working of the Renaissance mind from a unique perspective: we come to understand a people through their ideas on food.

Eating Right in the Renaissance takes us through an array of historical sources in a narrative that is witty and spiced with fascinating details. Why did early Renaissance writers recommend the herbs parsley, arugula, anise, and mint to fortify sexual prowess? Why was there such a strong outcry against melons and cucumbers, even though people continued to eat them in large quantities? Why was wine considered a necessary nutrient? As he explores these and other questions, Albala explains the history behind Renaissance dietary theories; the connections among food, exercise, and sex; the changing relationship between medicine and cuisine; and much more.

Whereas modern nutritionists may promise a slimmer waistline, more stamina, or freedom from disease, Renaissance food writers had entirely different ideas about the value of eating right. As he uncovers these ideas from the past, Ken Albala puts our own dietary obsessions in an entirely new light in this elegantly written and often surprising new chapter on the history of food.
Michael Pollan, the bestselling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Rules, and How to Change Your Mind, explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen in Cooked. 

Cooked is now a Netflix docuseries based on the book that focuses on the four kinds of "transformations" that occur in cooking. Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney and starring Michael Pollan, Cooked teases out the links between science, culture and the flavors we love.

In Cooked, Pollan discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth—to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer.

Each section of Cooked tracks Pollan’s effort to master a single classic recipe using one of the four elements. A North Carolina barbecue pit master tutors him in the primal magic of fire; a Chez Panisse–trained cook schools him in the art of braising; a celebrated baker teaches him how air transforms grain and water into a fragrant loaf of bread; and finally, several mad-genius “fermentos” (a tribe that includes brewers, cheese makers, and all kinds of picklers) reveal how fungi and bacteria can perform the most amazing alchemies of all. The reader learns alongside Pollan, but the lessons move beyond the practical to become an investigation of how cooking involves us in a web of social and ecological relationships. Cooking, above all, connects us.

The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume large quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.
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