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Food and Faith in Christian Culture (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary H) (Arts & Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) Paperback – 17 Jan 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (17 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231149972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231149976
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,470,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California where he teaches courses on Food, Medicine and the Renaissance. He has written and/or edited 16 books on subjects ranging from Renaissance dietetics to fine dining, to beans and DIY cooking. He had also edited several books series and encyclopedias and currently edits AltaMira Studies in Food And Gastronomy. He also co-edits the journal Food, Culture and Society.

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Review

This excellent collection of essays shows the remarkable variety of ways in which food and meals have served to create and express identity for Christians. From the Middle Ages to the present, and from the Reformation to Orthodoxy to evangelicalism, contributors explore the diversity and the ubiquity of food's connection to faith. -- The Revd Canon Andrew McGowan, Trinity College, The University of Melbourne Ken Albala and Trudy Eden serve a delightful potpourri of thought-provoking and insightful essays. Widely separated in time and space, they are held together by common themes, such as bodily health, fasting, and commensality, and are peopled by a wild array of monks, noblemen, adventurers, bishops, vegetarians, medical professionals, Maoris, and missionaries, to name just a few. This much needed collection deserves to be widely read by anyone interested in food, history, and religion. Well-done! -- Andrew F. Smith Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine Altogether, the essays are topical, well written, and stimulating. They nicely capture the diversity, nuance, and complexity surrounding the place and role of dietary practices in Christian culture. -- Raymond A. Mentzer Catholic Historical Review

About the Author

Ken Albala is professor of history at the University of the Pacific. His many books include Eating Right in the Renaissance; The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe; Beans: A History; and The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe at a Time. He is also the coeditor of the journal Food Culture and Society, as well as several food series and the Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. Trudy Eden is an associate professor at the University of Northern Iowa and writes about all the many things people do with food. Her other books are The Early American Table: Food and Society in the New World and Cooking in Early America, 1590-1840.

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By I. Darren TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
Food and the Christian religion does not necessarily have the closest association, you might think. After all, many know about Moslems and their religious fasts, Catholics and their propensity to eat fish, Jewish Kosher practices... but what about Christianity?

Christianity does not have a uniform dietary code or traits, leading to more localised practices being developed over time that can seem confusing, illogical and even unreligious to practitioners of other religions. Yet when you start to think about it it can be an interesting discussion point on a cultural, theological and even sociological level.

Make no mistake. This book is not going to provide religiously-sensitive recipes for the Christian religion. It is an academic work, a range of curated essays that examine the relationship between food and faith from the fourteenth to the twenty-first century. Links and relationships between religious eating habits, social norms at the time, culture and social structures are examined and various theories tested out within the 11 different essays. The essays are standalone by nature and unfortunately the overall tempo of this book is lost because of this. A more flowing, inter-linked work would have led to a wider wide scale appeal for this book which, whilst retaining its academic flavour, could have been also of more mass-market appeal. A difficult decision to take, we accept.

The essays themselves are quite diverse, sometimes quirky in nature, such as "the sanctity of bread: missionaries and the promotion of wheat growing among the New Zealand Maori" or "Eating in Silence in an English Benedictine monastery" but interesting nonetheless. It is just a shame that this book will probably not get on the radar of the typical 'leisure reader'.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Esoteric Made Accessible 6 Sept. 2013
By John S. Bowman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you are like me, occasionally you find yourself needing or deciding to read an unusual book to satisfy some professional or personal obligation. This was such a book. I am not a professional historian nor especially invested in Christian traditions. Imagine my surprise, not to say delight, as I read from chapter to chapter and found myself totally entranced by these seemingly esoteric topics. Some were truly removed from anything I had ever thought about--the food purchases of a 14th-centry Florentine monastery, debates over fasting in the Reformation era> Or for extreme remoteness, the relationship of wheat and Christianity among the Maoris of New Zealand. Or how about an intense debate within the Catholic Church as to whether puffins qualified as fish for fasting during Lent! But other chapters were closer in time and place and elicited a "Who knew?! reaction. Who knew of the Christian denomination that to this day practices foot-washing along with their "love feasts"? Who knew of a Christian sect that puts dieting and weight loss into a spiritual context? Or a Christian sect that advocated vegetarianism as spiritual regeneration? Yes, some readers might find one or another chapter goes on too long for its hold on them--just move on. But there are more than enough fascinating chapters here. The opening chapter, a historical survey of the relationship between food and Christianity, is a masterful overview that unites both the familiar and the "never-thought-of" --worth the price of admission, as they say. After reading this book, Christian or non-Christian, you will never again sit down to a meal without realizing the potential significance of food.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Thought Provoking 1 Feb. 2013
By I. Darren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Food and the Christian religion does not necessarily have the closest association, you might think. After all, many know about Moslems and their religious fasts, Catholics and their propensity to eat fish, Jewish Kosher practices... but what about Christianity?

Christianity does not have a uniform dietary code or traits, leading to more localised practices being developed over time that can seem confusing, illogical and even unreligious to practitioners of other religions. Yet when you start to think about it it can be an interesting discussion point on a cultural, theological and even sociological level.

Make no mistake. This book is not going to provide religiously-sensitive recipes for the Christian religion. It is an academic work, a range of curated essays that examine the relationship between food and faith from the fourteenth to the twenty-first century. Links and relationships between religious eating habits, social norms at the time, culture and social structures are examined and various theories tested out within the 11 different essays. The essays are standalone by nature and unfortunately the overall tempo of this book is lost because of this. A more flowing, inter-linked work would have led to a wider wide scale appeal for this book which, whilst retaining its academic flavour, could have been also of more mass-market appeal. A difficult decision to take, we accept.

The essays themselves are quite diverse, sometimes quirky in nature, such as "the sanctity of bread: missionaries and the promotion of wheat growing among the New Zealand Maori" or "Eating in Silence in an English Benedictine monastery" but interesting nonetheless. It is just a shame that this book will probably not get on the radar of the typical 'leisure reader'. For the academically-minded there is a plethora of notes, bibliographical references and an extensive index. For those who don't require that, the text itself is interesting, thought-provoking and worthy of perusal.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating Approach to our relationship with food and Christianity. 27 April 2012
By Claire - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oh My gosh. This book is totally fascinating. I am enjoying this unusual and historic approach of food in its relationship with Christianity. My own book: "A Short History of Ingredients" dove tails very nicely with this subject. Kudos to the authors!

Claire S. Cabot
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