Mary Kay (marykaykare) wrote in humanculture,
Mary Kay


At a convention I was at last weekend, Tamora Pierce was talking about her process in creating cultures. One of the things she talked mentioned was what they ate. It started me thinking about foods and how they affect their cultures. It seems like it might be a fertile source of panels for the Human Culture track in Montreal. One place to start is a book called Much Depends on Dinner by Margaret Vissing. I think I have a copy somewhere.

But think about how history, politics, and culture have been affected by the search for spices. What the implications are for a society in what grain is its staple.

Visser has also written a book called Rituals of Dinner which is about table manners and how they came to be which is a somewhat different intersection of food and culture.

Does anyone else have any other ideas or books to suggest around this topic?\
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

There are some really interesting books on American eating habits. One of my favourites is Revolution at the Table.
I think this is potentially a terrific subject, but it wants more than one panel or to be focused down a lot. "Food in human culture" is a huge topic. There's the historical angle -- as you say, the quest for spices and so on -- and there's the how the available food shaped cultures, (Judaism, sushi, trenchers, the spread of the fork) and there's how this might work in other (fantasy) worlds, and how it might work in the future. (In Princes of the Air there's a zero gravity banquet, where a polite person knows how to sail their piece of meat through a floating globe of sauce without spattering or disturbing the position of the sauce...)

Anyone think of any better division, or have useful further thoughts?

Steve Brust would be a great person for this one.
Does "it's too bad that _The Galactic Gourmet_ wasn't one of the better Sector General books" count as a useful thought?

No? I didn't think so.

But that reminds me of food taboos, which reminds me of the taboo panel at WFC , which generated a lot of discussion.

Oh, and there's also attitudes toward food prep & cooking, not just what's served or how you eat it. Will we ever really get rid of cooking in favor of stuff out of walls? Besides relative wealth, is there another necessary precursor to cooking-as-art?