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The Cambridge World History of Food
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Book description

An undertaking without parallel or precedent, this monumental volume encapsulates much of what is known of the history of food and nutrition. It constitutes a vast and essential chapter in the history of human health and culture. Ranging from the eating habits of our prehistoric ancestors to food-related policy issues we face today, this work covers the full spectrum of foods that have been hunted, gathered, cultivated, and domesticated; their nutritional make-up and uses; and their impact on cultures and demography. It offers a geographical perspective on the history and culture of food and drink and takes up subjects from food fads, prejudices, and taboos to questions of food toxins, additives, labelling, and entitlements. It culminates in a dictionary that identifies and sketches out brief histories of plant foods mentioned in the text - over 1,000 in all - and additionally supplies thousands of common names and synonyms for those foods.


‘Top of the league … there is enough in the two volumes to keep the curious happy for Christmases to come.’

Matthew Fort Source: The Guardian

‘Unparalleled in its knowledge and content.’

Source: BBC Good Food Magazine

‘Anyone looking for something in the ‘oh, you shouldn’t have!’ category could do worse than give The Cambridge World History of Food’.

Source: The Sunday Telegraph

‘If you have a very special gourmet in your life, this is the Christmas present for them … This book is so fascinating that you could spend a whole year dipping into it.’

Source: Healthy Eating

‘A weighty tome packed with culinary wisdom, which is ideal for lazy browsing.’

Source: Waitrose Food Illustrated

‘An essential addition to the library of any serious chef, culinary educator, or devotee of fine cuisine.’

Source: Cuizine

'… if you want to know a bit more about what you're actually cooking, this really is all about food, including its political and social history. Utterly fascinating and a most welcome gift for the sort of person who likes to delve that bit deeper into everyday things.'

Source: The Independent

‘… Factual Feast …'

Source: Condé Nast Traveller

‘In a word: Wow … The World History of Food is part fascinating reading, part essential reference tool. What’s not in here doesn’t exist.’

Source: USA Today

‘[A] formidably wide-ranging work.’

Source: Economist

‘It’s hard not to feel a giggly kind of pleasure at the full extent of knowledge on display in the Cambridge World History of Food.’

Source: The New Yorker

‘[A] tour de force. … With information that is up-to-date, a format that is easy to use and a fresh, engaging approach to their subject, Kiple and Ornelas have prepared a magnificent resource.’

Source: Publishers Weekly

‘This treasure trove of knowledge about food is so interesting and useful that I have only one regret. I wish that it had been available earlier, to spare me (and you) the effort of tracking down hundreds of different sources now summarized here. Whether you are a cook, gourmet, or glutton, an archaeologist, physiologist, or historian, you will be browsing these two volumes for years to come.’

Jared Diamond - author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

‘An outstanding new reference source … The Cambridge World History of Food is a remarkable work of scholarship and is highly recommended.’

Source: Library Journal (starred)

‘A magisterial achievement. Food has long been central to humankind’s relationship to the earth, and anyone interested in that relationship will find here an endless source of knowledge and insight. The book’s perspective is sweeping, its ecological and cultural significance is profound.'

Donald Worster - University of Kansas

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