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Aug 6, 2006 05:15 PM

Books on the History of Food

Anyone have a recommendation for a book on the history of food (i.e. different ways in which it has been consumed and prepared over the centuries and across cultures)? Something that is also fun to read and not too esoteric. Thanks!

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  1. Food in History by Reay Tannahill -- You can search through the book at

    I also like these fascinating websites:

    The Food Timeline


    Culinary History Timeline: social history, manners & menus

    1. Begin with some of James Trager's books (THE BELLYBOOK, THE FOOD BOOK), Carson Ritchie's FOOD IN CIVILIZATION, Martin Elkort's THE SECRET LIFE OF FOOD, Reay Tannahill's FOOD IN HISTORY, Vernon Pizer's EAT THE GRAPES DOWNWARD and Katie Stewart's THE JOY OF EATING. Any or all of these ought to get you started. None are dry academic tomes and a couple are outright funny.

      These are all general "Food History" books. Other titles have a more limited scope - both chronologically and geographically. You may find an era or region that fascinates you. Check out the bibliographies of these books for more specific suggestions.

      1. It's not a sequential history per se, but the Oxford Companion to Food is excellent. The tome is packed full of anecdotes.

        They've just released a new edition too:


        1. James Trager's The Food Chronology is great. Unfortunately also out of print and expensive.

          1. Baron's Food Lovers Companion is great. Consise, affordable and very complete