Thoughts on: “Food: A Culinary History” by The Great Courses

I’ve had had my ups and downs with the Great Courses series. I really want enjoy them, but the lecture format never really hook me like a regular audiobook does.

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So I decided not to treat them like an audiobook and rather enjoy them the way I would do with a podcast. Casually listening to it while doing work on the computer. Not bothering with taking notes or worry about missing bits here and there. And this course was extremely enjoyable with this approach.

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Food: A Cultural Culinary History is presented with great passion by history professor Ken Albala. The scope is vast and covers food cultures all around the globe, from prehistoric times to up to the present day(..and beyond!).

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Sometimes the rich scope of the course becomes its biggest shortcoming because there are so many stops on the journey but so little time spent at each location that it feels lacking in depth at times.

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But for me, a n00b in both history and food, I really liked this as an introduction to the subject. And trying food centric view on cultural development felt like a refreshing perspective.

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Some trivia:

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The rounded tip of dinner knives where introduced to reduce the threat of violence at the table.

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In Ancient Greece medicine, different diets where described depending on your dominant temperament (Sanguine, Melancholic, Choleric, or Phlegmatic).

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It made me smile to learn that in ancient times, just like today, theories went back and forth whether a glass of red wine each day was detrimental or beneficial to your health.

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4/5

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