Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations.
To be published in the summer of 2010 by The Free Press (a division of Simon and Schuster)
A sweeping history of how food determines the fate of human societies, this Guns, Germs, and Steel of food is particularly urgent in a time of global food crisis.
The history of the food trade is like a sequence of waves, peaking with the height of empires, then sloughing down into dark ages marked by deforestation, famine, and warfare. It happened at the end of the Roman Empire, when slave plantations overworked Europe’s and Egypt’s soil and drained its vigor. It happened in the fourteenth century, when medieval civilization crashed into famine and plague. It happened again in the nineteenth century, when catastrophic colonial agricultural schemes plunged half of the world into a poverty from which it has never recovered. Today, even though we live in an age of astounding agricultural productivity, we are feeling the first lurch of another slide. Empires of Food offers prescription as well as exposition, arguing that neither Local Food movements nor Free Market Economists will stave off the next crash.
In vivid stories and with a broad historical perspective, Empires of Food tells how food has determined the fate of human societies for the past 12,000 years—and how the chips will fall in years to come.
Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat and Muscle Shaped the World.
Published in 2008 by William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins.
“Lively and unsettling history-cum-polemic…this colorful account is well-seasoned with a series of culinary interludes.”
“An ambitious cultural-historical-agricultural history of the cow.... The book’s best parts recount dinners and talk with a group of Masai in Kenya: you can almost smell the meat...”
“The cow is a universal symbol and a universal resource. Its myth and history, from its first high status to its final sorry state in today’s intensive food culture, is richly researched and tenderly told.”
--The Times (London)
THE COW. THE MOST INDUSTRIOUS ANIMAL IN THE WORLD. A beast central to human existence since time began, that has played a vital role in our history not only as a source of food, but also as a means of labor, an economic resource, an inspiration for art, and even as a religious icon. Prehistoric people painted it on cave walls; explorers, merchants, and landowners traded it as currency; many cultures have worshipped it as a god. So how did it come to occupy the sorry state it does today--more factory product than animal?
In Beef, Andrew Rimas and Evan D.G. Fraser answer that question, telling the story of cattle in its entirety. From the powerful auroch, a now extinct beast once revered as a mystical totem, to the dairy cows of 17th Century Holland, to the frozen meat patties and growth hormones of today, they deliver an engaging, panoramic view of the cow's long and colorful history.
Peppered with lively anecdotes, recipes, and culinary tidbits, Beef tells a story that spans the globe, from ancient Mediterranean bullfighting rings to the rugged grazing grounds of 18th century England, from the quiet farms of Japan's Kobe beef cows to crowded American stockyards to remote villages in East Africa, home of the Masai, a society to which cattle mean everything. Leaving no stone unturned in its exploration of the cow's legacy, the narrative serves not only as a compelling story but as a call to arms, offering practical solutions for confronting the current condition of the wasteful beef and dairy industries.
Beef is a captivating history of an animal whose relationship with humanity has shaped the world as we know it, and readers will never look at steak the same way again.