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 IV shines a spotlight on Europe, 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 the importance of passion and seafood in cooking in the Basque region, to the effect of a fertile soil (thanks to the many waterways) in the Netherlands on the production of major food crops including barley, corn, potatoes, and sugar beets. 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.