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Food Studies & Food History

Selected Books

Bishop, Holley
Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey, the Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World
SF539.B57 2005
Now, when the honey bee's existence is being threatened, is a good time to read up on this food that has been around for almost 10 million years.
The Cambridge World History of Food
r TX353.C255 2000
Editors, Kenneth F. Kiple, Kriemhild Coneč Ornelas
This two-volume reference source is a compendium of articles written by experts from various disciplines on food topics. Most copies are noncirculating.
Coe, Sophie D.
The True History of Chocolate
TP640 .C67 1996
Sophie D. Coe, married to the mesoamerican anthropologist Michael Coe, also wrote a history of the First Cuisines of America.
Eden, Trudy
The Early American Table: Food and Society in the New World
GT2853.U5 E34 2008
An exploration in the history of biopolitics, The Early American Table offers a unique study of the ways in which English colonists in North America incorporated the "you are what you eat" philosophy into their conception of themselves and their proper place in society.
Fagan, Brian M.
Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting, and the Discovery of the New World
SH219.F34 2006
Fagan explores the influence that fishing, and the search for new fishing grounds to satisfy the demand for fish, had on the discovery of the New World by Europeans.
Fisher, Carol
The American Cookbook: A History
TX715.F534 2006
This book serves up the American cookbook as a tasty sampler of history, geography and culture, revealing the influence of political events (e.g. wartime rationing), social movements (temperance), and technological change (new packaging and cooking methods).
Kurlansky, Mark
Cod: a Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
PN6071.C66 K87 1997
Cod is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic and it is the only reason they could. Also available also as a downloadable ebook. Other seafood books by Kurlansky include The Big Oyster and The Last Fish Tale.
Kurlansky, Mark
Salt: a World History
TN900.K865 2002x
The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind.
Levinson, Marc
The Great A and P and the Struggle for Small Business in America
Levinson tells the story of the rise and fall of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, from a New York City tea company in 1869 to a small grocery store chain to the largest retailer in the world in the 1940s, destroying the Mom and Pop grocery store in the process. Listen to the NPR storyHow The A&P Changed The Way We Shop.
Opie, Frederick Douglass
Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America
Beginning with the Atlantic slave trade and concluding with the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Opie composes a global history of African American foodways and the concept of soul itself. This is part of the series Arts and Traditions of the Table.
Shephard, Sue
Pickled, Potted, And Canned: How The Art And Science Of Food Preserving Changed The World
TX601.S47 2001
"Nearly every page contains something either practical or historically fascinating or both: how to dry, salt, smoke, ferment, pickle, and cure food; how the discovery of food preservation led to the discovery of the world..." -- Booklist
Wilkins, John
Food in the Ancient World
TX353.W535 2006
An overview of food in antiquity -- The social context of eating -- Food and ancient religion -- Staple foods : cereals and pulses -- Meat and fish -- Wine and drinking -- Food in ancient thought -- Medical approaches to food -- Food in literature.

Selected Videos

(DVD) TX784.M633 2007x
(DVD) TP378.S843 2006x
This TV program from the History Channel presents the history of the production of sugar. Examines uses of sugar's various permutations.
Wolf, Burt
What We Eat: why we put sugar in our coffee and ketchup on our fries
(DVD) GT2853.U5 W495 2003x
This is the DVD that consists of 13 episodes of the PBS television series about the history of American food. It explores how the Old and the New Worlds were linked through the exchange of plants and animals during Columbus’ voyages from 1492 through 1502.

Browse the Catalog

For additional titles browse the library catalog using the subjects:

For books on the history of a specific food item, you'll have to search under that food item or that food item plus "history", for example:

For books on the history of a specific country's food, try adding "history" to the end of the subject. You can also append the name of the country to the end of "Food Habits".


Pittsburgh Region


Web Sites

  • Acanthus Books
    Featuring cookbook reprints from antiquity to the early 20th century.
  • American Folklore Society: Foodways Section
    This section publishes a newsletter called Digest and also awards scholarships for the study of food.
  • Anthropology of Food
    Anthropology of Food (AOF) is a peer reviewed bi-lingual academic web journal in French and English. It aims to publish results of research in Sociology and Anthropology of Food and is published by a network of European academic researchers sharing a common intellectual interest in the social science of food.
  • Association for the Study of Food & Society
    The Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) is a multidisciplinary international organization dedicated to exploring the complex relationships among food, culture, and society. It also offers a collection of syllabi for food studies courses.
    • Food, Culture & Society
      Their journal has been published since 1996, but was formerly known as The Journal for the Study of Food and Society. The journal focuses on research about topics such as food habits, nutritional epidemiology, agricultural issues, the social significance of food, and items relating to famine, feast and hunger.
  • Cindy Renfrow's Thousand Eggs
    Cindy Renfrow is a food history author with a web page that has information about ancient and medieval cooking and links to further resources. A good place to begin exploring online.
  • Cornell University Library: Not By Bread Alone
    "Not by Bread Alone" explores the influences and inventions that have shaped American food habits over the past two hundred years. On view in the Carl A. Kroch Library from June 6 to October 4, 2002, the exhibition highlights rare books, photographs, menus, and other early documents that trace the history of gastronomy in America. Some of these are available online.
  • Culinary Historians of New York
    Check out their "Research Resouces" for links to digital libraries, special collections libraries, notable websites, academic interest, living history programs, culinary history organizations. And their "Recipes with History" for some annotated recipes.
  • Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project
    The Michigan State University Library and the MSU Museum have partnered to create an online digital collection of some of the most influential and important American cookbooks from the 19th and early 20th century.
  • Food History News
    Includes a Museum Directory, an international listing of museums and collections, both public and private, dedicated to food and beverages; a list of culinary history organizations.
  • The Food Museum
    Exhibits, news, issues from the creators of online exhibits about the world's foods.
  • The Food Timeline
    The Food Timeline was created by Lynne Olver, reference librarian and IACP member, in response to students, parents and teachers who frequently asked for help locating food history and period recipes at the Morris County Library (Whippany, NJ). The timeline is from a European perspective and includes links to recipes and food history information on the web.
  • Historic Food
    This is the website of Ivan Day, a scholar of British and European culinary history
  • Library of Congress: Food History
    This is a "Science Tracer Bullet", a research guide that helps you locate information on science and technology subjects. It offers an extensive bibliography for food history, resources at the Library of Congress, links to other food history libraries, organizations and museums.
  • Neglected Crops: 1492 from a Different Perspective
    This FAO publication examines the American food crops that were not adopted by Europeans, in contrast to those that were: potatoes, corn, tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash.
  • New York Food Museum
    The museum has no building but does have a website and creates exhibits on the history of food in New York City.
  • New York Public Library: Culinary History Research Guide
    "The field of food and cookery has always held a strong interest for The New York Public Library." This is a guide to using their collection of 16,000 volumes.
  • Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery
    The Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery is an annual conference on food history. It is one of the few events of its kind to take place in the world and brings together eminent writers, food historians, scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, chefs and others who specialise in the serious study of food in history, its place in contemporary societies, and related scientific developments.
  • The Paleolithic Diet Page: What the Hunter/Gatherers Ate
    This website offers a collection of information sites about the Paleolithic Diet, especially as it concerns Nutrition and Human Health Research
  • World Food Habits Bibliography
    English-language sources for the anthropological study of diet and nutrition collected by Robert Dirks of Illinois State University.