How much can we learn about a different culture from its food choices, in terms of local produce, preparation and eating habits? In this comprehensive four-volume reference work, Ken Albala and a team of dedicated food scholars show how we can begin to understand the ways different cultures are formed and shaped by eating practices and behaviours. Volume I shines a spotlight on Africa and the Middle East, and tracks systematically through a spread of the countries in the region. For each country featured there is a Food Culture Snapshot, an exposé of the Major Foodstuffs, Cooking, Typical Meals, Eating Out practices - where relevant- and entries on Special Occasions, Diet and Health, as well as region-specific traditional recipes.
In this volume, observations range from noting the effect of urbanization and globalization on Algerian shopping habits, to details of the preparation of a typical evening meal in Sierra Leone. Through the presentation of these aspects of cuisine and food-related habits together, Albala et al move towards a theory of food culture. Accessibly written and vastly wide-ranging in scope, the volume is dotted throughout with exciting recipes for the reader to try, and provides a definitive foundation for anyone seeking to understand how a spotlight on food can bring together the numerous threads that compose a society.