Cultural Histories of Food

Jeffrey M. Pilcher

in The Oxford Handbook of Food History

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199729937
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Cultural Histories of Food

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Because of its essential role in human life, food has been a part of historical narratives since antiquity. As the proper subject of professional inquiry, however, food gained recognition only in the 1990s with the advent of the so-called new cultural history. Whereas the disciplinary hegemony of culture has begun to fragment and decline, the field of food history continues to grow significantly. Therefore, it is only fitting to reflect on the historical study of food as a cultural expression, to differentiate it from cultural approaches to the history of food politics, nutrition, and the like. Changing scholarly assumptions about culture have had an impact in terms of understanding what cuisine is all about. Drawing on the theories of Jack Goody, Sidney Mintz, and Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson about cuisine, this article examines historical change at three interrelated levels: the circulation of texts, the tastes of dining, and the practices of cooking.

Keywords: food; cultural history; cuisine; Jack Goody; Sidney Mintz; Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson; dining; cooking; culture; food history

Article.  9333 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History

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