Humans have an appetite for food, and anthropology—as the study of human beings, their culture, and society—has an interest in the role of food. From ingredients and recipes to meals and menus across time and space, Eating Culture is a highly engaging overview that illustrates the important role that anthropology and anthropologists have played in understanding food. Organized around the sometimes elusive concept of cuisine and the public discourse—on gastronomy, nutrition, sustainability, and culinary skills—that surrounds it, this practical guide to anthropological method and theory brings order and insight to our changing relationship with food.
Gillian Crowther's Eating Culture: An Anthropological Guide to Food is a great introductory read for students (or anyone) interested in thinking about how and why we "do food" in modern societies.
It is written in a clear and comprehensible manner for those interested in food studies, not only from an anthropological perspective, but also encompassing the stance of social sciences, and is much more than a mere introduction or textbook. The author reveals personal involvement in the way her own research is incorporated into the text, and the theory is creatively interwoven with an ethnographic approach.
Eating Culture is a useful classroom tool. It offers an in-depth look at the many facets of preparing and consuming food in a variety of context and does a good job at highlighting what different people consider(ed) edible and the proper ways to consume food in different cultures and historical times. It covers diverse cultural contexts and it avoids a Western-centric focus, giving ample space to different aboriginal, Latin American, Asian, and migrant community food cultures.