'Food: A Culinary History,' edited by Jean-Louis Flandrin...

Editor's Choice

November 21, 1999|By Michael Pakenham

'Food: A Culinary History,' edited by Jean-Louis Flandrin & Massimo Montanari (Columbia University Press, 593 pages $39.95)

Albert Sonnenfeld, a distinguished food and wine man who teaches at the University of Souithern California, has translated and introduced this happy, happy collection of history, essays and insights into food that has been delighting Europeans for three years. From prehistory to immediate fads, the tables of civilization are examined and explained with authority, respect, skepticism and elegance. Lo: Pasta may not exist in Italy because of Marco Polo's return from China. And so on.

Illustrated but not so excessively as to belong on the coffee table, this is a book to keep around, to nibble on instead of dreary and unhealthy industrial foods.

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