HIST-449 Food in European History
Fall for 2011-2012
During the Renaissance, the foods and cuisines of Europe bore a strong family resemblance to their counterparts in late Roman antiquity and the Muslim cultures of the medieval world. Cereals dominated the diet and the prevailing culinary style favored complex, spicy sauces. Wine was the universal beverage of choice, distilled spirits were rare, and coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks were unknown. Medical advice about diet and health drew on the teachings of Hippocratic medicine (which originated in ancient Greece) as expanded and amended by Roman and Arab physicians. Shortly after 1500, however, this picture began to change, laying the foundations of the dietary and culinary regimes with which we are familiar today. This course will examine the transformation of the habits of cooking, eating, and drinking in Europe between 1500-1900 with an emphasis on France and England. Topics will include: the reception of new foods from the Americas; the growing availability and popularity of sugar and colonial beverages (coffee, tea, and chocolate); the uneven impact of economic growth on the diets of rich and poor Europeans; changing ideas about diet, health, and disease; changing manners and patterns of social behavior associated with food and drink; the rise of the restaurant, and the emergence of modern culinary styles, including national ones.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Fall '11: Pinkard, S (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
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