Reay Tannahill, food historian and historical novelist: born Glasgow 9 December ; married Michael Edwardes (died ; marriage. When Reay Tannahill began working on the book that became “Food in History,” she was entering virgin territory. No one before her had. Surveys the evolution of man’s diverse gastronomic habits, customs, and traditions against their cultural and historical background.

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One vivid part I recall from the cavemen section was that the human need for protein was so strong, that occasionally an errant neanderthal would kill an animal and crack open, say, an arm bone, and start chowin’ down on the liquidly disgusting but surprisingly nutritious bone-marrow.

Food in History by Reay Tannahill | : Books

After getting asymptotically slower as I neared the end It pretty much blew my mind. And this book is dated in other ways. Take, for instance, the America’s. Thus science and technology are important e.

Food in History, by Reay Tannahill

How can you write a book about food history and dismiss the entirety of Ethiopian, Moroccan, and Egyptian food, all know to be famously delicious and available even in America? Trivia About Food in History. I gave it 5 stars and yet I abandoned it?!

View all 3 comments. May 08, haley rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Reynolds the author said something intriguing in a morbid train-crash kinda way. For example, some very commo I gave it 5 stars and yet I abandoned it?! A fascinating book tracing food from pre-cooking-with-fire beginnings to modern day preoccupations with obesity vs famine, food buzzwords like ‘natural’ ‘healthy’ ‘organic’, diseases such as BSE and Foot and Mouth, additives and genetic modification.


There is a clear focus on Europe and the West, Africa is briefly mentioned.

Food in History

Out of date, particularly the ending and some conclusions on the latest health claims of particular processed foods. The roman empire’s favorite spice? Most reviewers also feel comfortable using the word “primitive” to describe people from the past and possibly presentwhich is very problematic.

Reynolds wrote that article in histort I try not to ascribe to historical relativism, but I suppose in this case, I should note that the original book was published in As the title indicates, this is an exposition on the role that food – its cultivation, enjoyment, transportation, and its politics – has played in history. If you’re looking for a quick read to take you to another world, I’d recommend skipping Food in History.

This is a good book for fans of general history, food writing, or millennial males who enjoy reading about food without ever once stepping into a kitchen. Books by Reay Tannahill.

Reay Tannahill was born on December 9, in Glasgow, Scotland, where she brought up. Jan 16, Lucinda rated it liked it Shelves: It begins where humans began, back in the caves, and gives archeological evidence as well as common sense theories on how certain foods likely came to be, such as yogurt and butter were probably discovered because of the practice of traveling with milk in the dried stomachs of animals.


I have already begun her sex in history and bought her history of cannibalism. Coversyears, beginning before cavemen, to the present – covers the entire world and its many civilizations, including many no longer extant.

She published her first non-fiction book in Mar 17, Ingrid Hardy rated it it was amazing Shelves: And none of the 1-star, 2-star, or 3-star reviews mention this.

Interesting to see that some 80s food fads and ideas which have since been debunked! Life certainly wasn’t a banquet for early man. Sep 17, Tracy rated it liked it Shelves: Aug 23, Javier rated it liked it Shelves: I breezed through the hiistory sections about early human history, as my edition was last edited inand that was nearly 30 years ago.

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