Why Food Matters

Paul Freedman

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Why does food matter? Historically, food has not always been considered a matter of high seriousness, on par with, for instance, a performance art like opera or a humanities discipline like philosophy. Necessity, temporary satiety, and repetition contribute to the apparent banality of food, but these attributes don’t capture food’s full range, from the quotidian to the exquisite.
In this short, passionate book, Paul Freedman makes the case for food’s utmost importance, stressing its crucial role in the evolution of human identity and human civilizations. Drawing on history, literature, music, the arts, and popular culture, and exploring questions around pleasure, taste, economics, class, religion, race, cultural difference, geography, gender, health, and community, Freedman presents a highly readable and illuminating account of food’s unique role in our lives. This wide-ranging book will be a must-read for food lovers and all those interested in how cultures and identities are formed and maintained.

Paul Freedman is Chester D. Tripp Professor of History at Yale University. He specializes in medieval social history, the history of Catalonia, comparative studies of the peasantry, trade in luxury products, and the history of cuisine. He lives in Pelham, NY.

“A rich and fascinating narrative that reaches deep into the historical and cultural larder of societal experience, powerfully illustrating the myriad ways that food matters as an essential condiment for humanity.”—Danny Meyer
ISBN: 9780300253771
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
184 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
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Paul Freedman

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