The History of Taste

  1. Edited by Paul Freedman
  2. Introduction by Paul Freedman
  • ISBN 9780500251355
  • 25.50 x 20.00 cm
  • Hardback
  • 368pp
  • 238 Illustrations, 97 in colour
  • First published 2007
‘… a fascinating and ambitious look at why we eat what we eat … I couldn’t put it down’ – Ruth Reichl, editor-in-chief Gourmet magazine.
‘A  savoury collection … splendidly illustrated …  the perfect present for the curious foodie in your life’ – The Observer

This book is unique!

It is the first to apply the discoveries of food historians to the romantic appeal of food. Here are the accomplishments of civilizations, from prehistory to the present day, to the pleasures of dining – ingredients, preparation and presentation.

• Why did Europeans lose their love of spices by the nineteenth century?
• How did coffee and chocolate change European habits and international commerce?
• What were the origins of sophisticated Arabian food customs?
• How did France’s grand cuisine take over the world?
• When and where did restaurants begin?

See the contents page

Here are Zhang Dai’s lovingly recorded memories of the crabs, clams and junket enjoyed in China before the fall of the Ming; the first celebrity chefs in the Classical world; how sugar from the West Indies profoundly changed European taste; meals recalled in detail by Proust – far more interesting than the mere madeleine; and how two journalists discovered nouvelle cuisine.

Paul Freedman is Chester D. Tripp Professor of History at Yale University and former Chairman of the Department of History there. He is also the author of Images of the Medieval Peasant, which won the 2002 Haskins Medal from the Medieval Academy of America.