on 15 January 2011
I very much enjoyed reading about how manhood came to grow food, cook it and from there and through time how different cuisines developed. It was also fascinating to read how people used to eat and approach food at different times in history!
This book covers many topics which in my opinion makes it a good starting point for anybody having an interest in food history. From there, it is up to your own interest to decide which topic you want to read more about.
The book does not cover the history of the potato or of French cuisine such as, if that is what you are looking for. It is more written from an anthropological perspective. That said, you can find mentions of the spices trade, of the introduction of new products into European diets and of how sauces came to develop in French cuisine.
Massimo Montanari being Italian, his examples are often based on Italian cuisine, and a bit French, when it comes to explaining how diet and dishes evolved.
About the writing style: many books I have read at University were written in a such a style that it required a lot of concentration and I could not help getting my attention carried away after a while! Although Massimo Montanari is a scholar -which guarantees that for each statement he makes there have been some actual research!-, his style is very easy to follow. For the statements he makes, he also goes through explanations and examples. The chapters are quite short, which makes it easier to put down the book and come back on it after a while.
Overall, I must say that I really really loved every minute spent reading this book and I will definitely read more of Massimo Montanari's books!