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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2013 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2013 The Great Courses
Neat series about where food is from, but basically everything is mingled a bit, and it is difficult to keep all these things straight when the information is given verbally. I would have liked this more if it explained more of why things are eaten in a certain way instead of just a descriptor of what is where....not just a "Scotland has potatoes." but more of a "how come?"...without the why, of where things can be found, it is hard to remember which things are where.
I really enjoyed this lecture series. I eating all kinds of food so naturally a cultural history of food would be fascinating to me. What I found most interesting was how food really reflected major historical changes in human history. Professor Abala was also a very lively lecturer who is obviously passionate about the subject matter and passes on that enthusiasm to his listeners. I learned a lot of great facts about where foods come from that will make me look at all kinds of foods with a greater appreciation! Definitely recommend.
Great topic. A lot of territory (cultures) covered, at times glanced at. Professor Ken Albala's kept my interest and well organised.
Professor Ken Albala is well polished and presents in an very engaging way.
I love food and felt I was comfortably well informed about most things food. A Cultural Culinary History just expanded my Universe in a fun way with an incredibly fascinating wealth of information the evolution of this most common necessity.
Food: A Cultural Culinary History is the first I've heard of Professor Ken Albala's work. And I loved it.
Pillage the Pantry
Professor Ken Albala is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject of food and culinary history. I love his tone and just how comfortable he is with a subject that effects us all whether we know how or why exactly. I'll be listening to this Series again. It was that good.
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.
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.
I liked everything about his presentation. Excellent story teller and educator.
A must listen for anyone who is interested in food, cooking and history.
Definitely one of my favorites. I would love to hear more from Prof Albala!
He's just so darn knowledgeable. I really enjoy his excitement about food - everything is just *delightful*!
The professor is extremely engaging, interesting to listen to, and full of knowledge. He does a great job at weaving culinary trends and changes into traditional history. He does assume a fairly solid background knowledge; you might be lost if you're not strong in history.
He visits Asia and Africa briefly - the touch is nice, but as he admits, it's a very shallow overview.
Unfortunately, as he moves into the 20th & 21st centuries, the lectures begin to resemble a soap box. He goes off against "so-called labor saving devices," large industries, and modern conveniences (like cans). He has good information still, but it's much harder to take in amidst all the anti-progress views.
I loved how these lectures were focused on connections...how events in history were caused and the ripple effects they had that show up in our communities and on our plates today. The first lecture's subject I found the flatest it starts with mankind's earliest history and works forward, hopping from one civilation to the next, more developed one and eventually to various continents), but once we got into the more developed societies I was totally hooked and couldn't wait to plug in at the end of each workday. Food is the means by which Ken Alba examines the development of societies and their habits-I was ignorant of the role food played in the growth of cities, countries and their politics and then in geopolitics until now. I can no longer eat without my thoughts jumping to each food's role in history. Fascinating stuff! And Ken Alba's humorous lens just added to the entertainment.
This is a comprehensive look at the world history of food. Maybe even too comprehensive. I've listened to about a dozen of the Great Courses and this might be my least favorite. Why? Because it is clearly designed to be watched. There is a cooking demonstration in nearly every episode, meaning that if you're just listening to this, there is about 5 minutes or so of dead time.
But otherwise, a worthwhile listen!
I returned to this lecture series over and over.
He was focused and presented the information perfectly.
I would love to see additional lectures on thi subject of culinary history.
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