Food: A Cultural Culinary History Audiobook | The Great Courses | Audible.com
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Food: A Cultural Culinary History | [The Great Courses]

Food: A Cultural Culinary History

Eating is an indispensable human activity. As a result, whether we realize it or not, the drive to obtain food has been a major catalyst across all of history, from prehistoric times to the present. Epicure Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said it best: "Gastronomy governs the whole life of man."
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Publisher's Summary

Eating is an indispensable human activity. As a result, whether we realize it or not, the drive to obtain food has been a major catalyst across all of history, from prehistoric times to the present. Epicure Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said it best: "Gastronomy governs the whole life of man."

In fact, civilization itself began in the quest for food. Humanity's transition to agriculture was not only the greatest social revolution in history, but it directly produced the structures and institutions we call "civilization."

In 36 fascinating lectures, award-winning Professor Albala puts this extraordinary subject on the table, taking you on an enthralling journey into the human relationship to food. With this innovative course, you'll travel the world discovering fascinating food lore and culture of all regions and eras - as an eye-opening lesson in history as well as a unique window on what we eat today.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©2013 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2013 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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  •  
    Susan Marietta, GA, United States 09-02-13
    Susan Marietta, GA, United States 09-02-13 Member Since 2010

    I've become an avid "reader" since I discovered audiobooks a few years ago. Also a cat lover - at left is Prince Harold

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    "Very interesting course"

    Wish I'd had college professors like this one. Prof. Albala was animated and enthusiastic about his subject and held my attention. I especially enjoyed the portion about food in ancient Rome and the very early recipes that still exist from there and other places a s well. His discourse puts a human face on the people who preceded us and brings them to life through the very human process of nourishment.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael NEWBURY PARK, CA, United States 08-10-13
    Michael NEWBURY PARK, CA, United States 08-10-13 Member Since 2011
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    "This is a fabulous lecture series"

    I have been a fan and customer of the attaching company for years. I like this format better.
    dr. Albala has a great command of history, and science. he is an expert guide to a world view of food throughout the ages. I enjoyed his lectures immensely.

    My only complaint is that the chapters are not well separated as usual for the iPhone version.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lady BURNSVILLE, MN, United States 09-26-13
    Lady BURNSVILLE, MN, United States 09-26-13 Member Since 2011

    Amazon Power Reader

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    "Interesting"

    Professor Albala is enthusiastic in his delivery and coverage of the topics. He does a fine job and covers various time periods and cultures as well as the routes foods would have traveled. While Albala attempts to avoid an Imperialistic tone, there is a hint of empire in the views he presents as he often acts as an cultural framer for present-day views on various non-white cultures. Also, he does not cover the interchange of culture and foods between Africa and Europe. He does, however, cover the Fertile Crescent, the Roman Empire, India, China, Europe the Middle East, South America, as well as North Africa. The book is as much about culture as food, perhaps more so. I would recommend it for anyone interested in an introduction to food history along with the associated time periods and cultures.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacey Albany, NY, United States 09-12-13
    Stacey Albany, NY, United States 09-12-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Loved it!"
    Where does Food: A Cultural Culinary History rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Definitely one of my favorites. I would love to hear more from Prof Albala!


    What about Professor Ken Albala’s performance did you like?

    He's just so darn knowledgeable. I really enjoy his excitement about food - everything is just *delightful*!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel WINTER HAVEN, FL, United States 07-22-13
    Rachel WINTER HAVEN, FL, United States 07-22-13 Member Since 2006
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    "outstanding!"
    Would you listen to Food: A Cultural Culinary History again? Why?

    Yes! Entertaining and educational!


    What other book might you compare Food: A Cultural Culinary History to and why?

    Anything by this professors!


    What about Professor Ken Albala’s performance did you like?

    Everything!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not really, it was consistently interesting the time.


    Any additional comments?

    Get this course!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud United States 03-11-14
    Saud United States 03-11-14 Member Since 2007

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

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    "An excellent journey through a delicious history"
    Have you listened to any of Professor Ken Albala’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is my first book by Professor Ken Albala, but it would seem better if this was brought in video format. Lectures are noticeably being paused prepare food by blending, chopping, shaking etc.

    It's not too much to discourage me from listening to the whole course, but enough to be occasionally bothersome.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The lectures about modern fast food, genetic engineering and the standardisation of dietary requirements.


    Any additional comments?

    Keep a note pad nearby. You're going to get a flurry of dishes from all over the world that you're going to want to seek out and try. Just don't bother too much with finding authentic cuisine restaurants. They're overrated, and this course touches on why.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica WOODLAND HILLS, CA, United States 12-28-13
    Jessica WOODLAND HILLS, CA, United States 12-28-13 Member Since 2005
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    "One of my top 3 favorite courses!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Food: A Cultural Culinary History to be better than the print version?

    I love the audio editions of these courses, but would love to have access to some printed materials to go along with it.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I thoroughly enjoyed all the chapters. Some of the stand outs included the chapter on how agriculture and food gathering gave rise to civilization; the section on food in Greece and Rome, and the first cookbooks; the section about food in the Muslim culture, how animals must be humanely killed and a prayer said over them, basically thanking them for sustaining humans by giving up their own life; and the section on French cooking. I really like the way he explained GMOs, making the science simple and easy to understand. Prof Albala also did a great job wrapping up the course with "food for thought," discussing what the future might bring in an world whose resources are dwindling and whose population is growing.


    What does Professor Ken Albala bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Prof Albala is an exceptional narrator and storyteller. Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He really pulls you into the story. And he has a great sense of humor. You never get bored.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. Not that it wasn't riveting. It's just that it is very, very long, more than 30 hours. And it was packed with a ton of information, giving an overview that begins with hunter-gatherers, on through to the various ages and cultures, and closing with present food trends and what the future might have in store. I usually listened for 2 or 3 hours at a time and then had to stop and digest the information. I wrote down some of the names of the people and cookbooks he mentioned so that I could do further exploration later on the topics that interested me most.


    Any additional comments?

    If you love food and you love history, you will love this course. I'm a huge fan of the Teaching Company and have purchased about 20 courses from them and Audible over the years. This one ranks up there as one of my top 3 favorites.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alifa Jerusalem, Israel 12-06-13
    Alifa Jerusalem, Israel 12-06-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Food: A Cultural Culinary History"

    I was at first very excited to begin listening to this course. I thought that Prof. Albala was a good speaker, and his selection of quotes from ancient writers was interesting and amusing. As the lectures reached the early Christian era, however, I began to have some doubts. His knowledge of Christianity and what it actually teaches seemed a bit limited. As we approached the modern era, I began to get truly annoyed, as he seemed to assume that everyone would be anti-colonial, anti-industrial, anti-American (fast foods! agribusiness! banana republics!). I did think that he presented a more balanced view of the genetic modification controversy than I expected. On that issue, he provided some necessary factual information and reviewed the problematic areas. Overall, it was an interesting set of lectures, but listeners should be a bit skeptical of the information presented and the progressive political take.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Waunakee, WI, United States 10-26-13
    Cheryl Waunakee, WI, United States 10-26-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Educational, yet very entertaining"
    What made the experience of listening to Food: A Cultural Culinary History the most enjoyable?

    The professor weaves together the story of food, food production, cooking and eating on various peoples' culture since the beginning to agriculture to today's genetically modified foods.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Food: A Cultural Culinary History?

    One of the reasons Martin Luther protested the Roman Catholic Church's ban on consumption of animal products during lent was because the geographic region where Luther was located depended on butter as the main cooking fat instead of olive oil.


    What about Professor Ken Albala’s performance did you like?

    I liked everything about his presentation. Excellent story teller and educator.


    Any additional comments?

    A must listen for anyone who is interested in food, cooking and history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 08-22-13
    Julia SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 08-22-13 Member Since 2008

    I listen to a lot of audiobooks.

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    "disorganized"
    Any additional comments?

    I returned this book because I found it scattered, difficult to follow and disorganized. The author is enthusiastic, which is great, however in his enthusiasm he tends to talk quickly and wander. Terrible.

    3 of 10 people found this review helpful
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