On the History of Food

My new slightly longer commute means I’ve started listening to random stuff, especially Podcasts.

Over the past few days I’ve enjoyed this from the rather Radio 4-ish EconTalk. Really quite fascinating.

Rachel Laudan, visiting scholar at the University of Texas and author of Cuisine and Empire, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of food. Topics covered include the importance of grain, the spread of various styles of cooking, why French cooking has elite status, and the reach of McDonald’s. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the appeal of local food and other recent food passions.

I learned about everything from the importance of Grain, and why potatoes are hard to feed a city with, to why modern food fads are more a social than nutritional thing.

Here’s the Overcast link (Overcast is the iOS App I use to listen to Podcasts ) and this is the direct link to EconTalk. EconTalk is also on iTunes here.