Book Reviews

Book review: Empires of Food.

The authors have vividly created centuries of spice-filled merchant ships and granaries that precipitated significant changes of food tastes, and ultimately recipes that provide much higher olfactory satisfaction

Those interested in history, and particularly food history will be thrilled with detail provided in this extremely well researched book.

Empires of Food is a must-read for anyone who want to know the reasons for billions going to bed satisfied, and billions more hungry and desperate.

The authors report at length about the cruel methods employed by “food factory” managers to animals in an attempt to obtain maximum return on investment at the expense of making animals suffer and producing tasteless food.

They also hint at how North American governments fail to ensure that animals are not mistreated. The argument is always to produce inexpensive and affordable food for most. The argument does not hold water – inexpensive food opens possibilities to overeating, which in turn leads to obesity. Surprisingly, inexpensive food if over consumed, can do harm to humans and/or to the environment i.e meat, farmed fish, flour, fat, just to mention a few.

The Slow Food movement, that advocates enjoyment of naturally grown fruits, vegetables, proteins, oils is mentioned in several pages. This alone is worth the price of the book.

“ The New Gluttony misses the point. Food isn’t fashion. Its survival for individuals and for civilizations” write the authors, hinting to the gluttony of the rulers of the Roman Empire.

The authors also mention briefly that climate change may increase food production for a few years and then abruptly turn the earth into bare, unproductive ground.

Highly recommended.

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