World Food: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Social Influence from Hunter-Gatherers to the Age of Globalization

M.E. Sharpe. 2012. 800p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780765682789. $249. Online: Sharpe Online Reference REF
This well-researched set from Snodgrass, the author of numerous reference works, offers more than 350 entries covering all things food related, from history and art to commerce and health. Indeed, the real strength of this work is its breadth; the material will get students beyond thinking of food as just something to eat and start them considering it in regard to medicine, currency, social issues, religion, and much more. The entries provide just enough information to pique interest without overwhelming. Suggestions for further reading appear in each entry, and numerous black-and-white images and a variety of short recipes are included throughout. Entries are listed alphabetically as well as in broad topical groupings, making it easy for those interested only in, for example, modern trends and movements to find those specific entries, though the topical listing would be enhanced by inclusion of page numbers. The second volume is complemented by a chronology, glossary, index, and bibliography, adding to the work's usability; it also contains a handy "Herbal Foods and Uses" appendix that perhaps needs a cautionary note about trying the remedies yourself.
VERDICT This well-written, accessible work is an appropriate introductory resource for high school, undergraduate, and public library reference collections. Students will especially find it a useful starting point for projects and papers.
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