Food Writing Is An Industry Unto Itself

2075 Words Dec 23rd, 2016 9 Pages
Food writing is an industry unto itself. The book shelves bulge with myriad recipe and preparation instruction titles in addition to food essays, food memoirs, food confessionals, food mysteries, food histories and food investigations. (Let 's not even get started on the diet books.) Put the challenging new release titled Food Is Culture into the category of food scholarship. Author Massimo Montanari is a professor of food history at the University of Bologna in Italy. His deceptively small but surprisingly filling book is the latest entry in the "Arts and Traditions of the Table" series by Columbia University Press. It is no less than a history of food from the initial application of fire to the spread of McDonald 's. It is a speedy journey, like sprinting through a smorgasbord. Without lingering, emphasis is placed upon the Middle Ages, which is Montanari 's era of intellectual expertise, and particular attention is paid to the Mediterranean beltway, which is Montanari 's geographic and emotional core. While this book is scholarly in content, it is decidedly casual in its academic approach. At the risk of stating a generalization, it might be said that it is quite Italian in style. It is sleek, with no footnotes, no citations and no bibliography. Montanari is nonchalant about exact references, as in this borrowed quotation: " 'One must beware of thin people, ' Shakespeare writes somewhere." This is a research attitude worthy of slackers everywhere. And from a professor,…

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