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Using Food History Texts in the World History Classroom: A Review Essay

Michael McInneshin


     After being trained to study a rather narrow slice of the earth, the challenges of setting up a world history class are daunting. Typically, the organizational model provided by the textbook chosen shapes a world history teacher's approach. Textbooks alone, however, have drawbacks (and few students notice their virtues), and many teachers prefer a different genre of scholarly writing to provide the structure for the global past. Grand thematic histories have served as useful, coherent global frameworks, including motifs such as cross-cultural interactions, ecologies and environments, social histories, and the history of food. My own dissatisfaction with my first year of teaching world history independently led me to reconfigure the course to focus on the theme of food. Like any other thematic approach, this process required the selection of relevant, useful, and engaging texts. In the essay below, I will catalog the utility of certain global food history books for world history courses, and provide advice for integrating particular texts into certain global history models, whether as center pieces or supplementary materials for a course.

     If the number of recent publications on the topic is any indication, perhaps no defense of food history as world history is needed. Many writers, both scholarly and popular, have apparently agreed with Felipe Fernández-Armesto that "Food ought to be historians' most important topic."1 The growing scholarly apparatus around the field can be seen in anthologies from the last few years: Kyri Claflin and Peter Scholliers' Writing Food History: A Global Perspective (2011) compiles regional and some trans-regional food historiographies and The Oxford Handbook of Food History (2012) addresses research and teaching the subject.2 Non-academic food histories have become prevalent enough that "X: The Commodity that Changed the World" has seemingly emerged as its own "biographical" sub-genre. General scholarly works have addressed food history though a number of approaches: materialist examinations of production and exchange; cultural and social histories of cuisines and meals; and scientific inquiries of domestication and nutrition. This proliferation means that instructors almost have too many choices, and this article intends to function as a world history teacher's consumer guide to some of those works.

     I have chosen eight books to cover, all of which are short enough to be completed by undergraduate readers in a semester or two, and which are both world history and food history. Two of these are popular works, An Edible History of Humanity and A History of the World in 6 Glasses, by Tom Standage.3 Two of the volumes might be considered textbooks, Jeffrey Pilcher's Food in World History and B.W. Higman's How Food Made History.4 The remainder are scholarly texts with concessions to popular style: Reay Tannahill's Food in History, Kenneth Kiple's A Moveable Feast, Martin Jones' Feast, and Fernández-Armesto's Near a Thousand Tables.5 Books such as Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat's History of Food (1987), Harald Brüssow's The Quest for Food (2007), and Parasecoli and Scholliers' A Cultural History of Food (2012), while being useful teaching references, are each too expansive and too expensive for a college survey.

     First, I will summarize the structure, general arguments, and coverage of the eight books individually. Second, I will chart their general value in relation to the typical formats of existing world history courses. Finally, I will critique each text as a resource for world history teaching, delineating its deficiencies and advantages.

     Tannahill's Food in History (1973) set the table for food history, with a template of topics that resonates in all the histories that followed: foraging (hunting, gathering, and fishing), cooking, domestication, farming and pastoralism, religious ritual, urbanization and the state, food taboos and vegetarianism, exchange and long-distance trade, famine, social status, cuisine, agronomy, preparation and preservation, manners and meals, labor, the Columbian Exchange, alcohol and stimulants, regionalism and ethnicity, industrialization, technological innovation, cook books, restaurants, brand names, the Green Revolution, and global politics. The text extends from the prehistoric period to the late twentieth century, and addresses Eurasia and the Americas in some depth, with a small amount of attention paid to Oceania (including Australia) and Sub-Saharan Africa. The chronology is apportioned into six parts: prehistory; the foundations of Western Civilization (my phrasing); the rest of Eurasia through the Middle Ages; "Europe, AD 1000–1492"; "The Expanding World" to 1780; and "The Modern World." The chapters' approaches are various, covering particular regions, periods, and transformations, and the subtopics are equally diverse, including processes, single domesticates, and cuisines. With this sort of coverage, or perhaps sprawl, it is the longest text under consideration, comprising 370 pages of material. Although Food in History has a number of flaws, Fernández-Armesto's argument that she was "not much concerned with the relationship between food history and history in general" is entirely unconvincing.6

     Fernández-Armesto's Near a Thousand Tables (2002) is well-named in that its alimentary evidence seems drawn from countless times and places. His stated goal is: "to take a genuinely global perspective; to treat food history as a theme of world history, inseparable from all the other interactions of human beings to treat evenhandedly the ecological, cultural and culinary concepts of the subject to trace connections between the food of the past and the way we eat today."7 Although the range of this book is nearly as broad as Tannahill's, the organization of his arguments is more disciplined. Each of the eight chapters traces the event of a "great" food revolution and the complementary transformation in humanity: cooking, food as not-food (ritual), herding, plant domestication, social differentiation, long-distance trade, ecological, industrial. The chapters usually open with a dislocating discussion. For example, the cooking revolution begins with a raw oyster meal, and the herding revolution commences with the subject of snails. Although the chapters are approximately chronological with regards to the specific revolution, the temporal coverage within often hurtles between the prehistoric, the historical, and the present. He covers geography in an analogous fashion, as if spinning an anthropological stew in a blender; for instance, during the discussion of exchange and empire the text moves from the Topkapi palace, to Tex-Mex cuisine, to Central Asian foods, to Filipino and Malay syncretism, to Cajun meals, then among Cape Colony Muslims, and finally back across the Atlantic to African influences on diet in the American South. There is no discernible locational pattern to the analysis, other than being as broad as possible.

     A History of the World in Six Glasses (2005) uses seven beverages to discuss a fairly standard sequence of "Western Civ" turning points, along with a penumbra of related events, every drink but the last described across two chapters. The book is like a series of commodity "biographies" performed in miniature. Beer-drinking illustrates the Neolithic revolution and the rise of urban societies. Wine introduces axial-age ideological structures, long-distance trade, and the formation of empire. "Spirits"—encompassing aqua vitae, rum, and whiskey—tell the story of middle-ages science and the development of the Atlantic world. The coffee chapter pivots on the Enlightenment, and tea explains a global British Empire and the industrial revolution. Coca-Cola informs the reader of the Cold War and globalization, while the drink of future history is water. While generally chronological, a few times events are revisited, as the American war for independence receives treatment in the liquor and tea chapters. The geographical coverage is dominated by locations considered part of the West, although the Islamic world and China receive individual treatment.8 Other parts of the world are generally only regarded in terms of their position in Western empires.

     Standage's other work, An Edible History of Humanity (2009), asks "which foods have done the most to shape the modern world, and how?"9 The structure is similar to Fernández-Armesto's, but with only six transformations wrought by food, by which he means agricultural foods. The transformations include the discovery of agriculture, the elaboration of hierarchies in urban societies, the development of long-distance trade, crops' contributions to industrialization, logistics in long-nineteenth-century wars and the cold war, and agronomy's centrality to twentieth-century population growth. Geographically and chronologically, Edible nearly duplicates the range of Six Glasses. The book addresses a good portion of the food history topics first laid out by Tannahill, but devotes far less space for the kitchen and table, and allocates many pages to the subject of warfare, with treatments unknown in Food in History. Tannahill's approach addresses the impact of warfare on food production (and food security), typically, while for Standage the story of technological improvements is how provisioning changed the nature of war in the Modern period.

     The Modern period is the focus of Pilcher's slender textbook—120 pages—a densely-packed discourse on Food in World History (2006). Most of its subject matter was also treated in Tannahill, though the intervening decades of scholarship can be seen in the way the topics are framed: food shortages and moral economies; the international division of labor; the kitchen as "the site of colonial resistance as well as collaboration."10 While Pilcher amply covers production, distribution, and preparation, as can be seen above, the book leans toward analyses of eating. As the title indicates, the text's intentions are global, and each chapter examines two to four distant cases thematically, such as Qing China, the Ottoman Empire, and Ireland in the chapter on hunger, markets, and governments; some regions are addressed repeatedly and others only once. The book's chronology ranges from the Neolithic Revolution to the present, but only one chapter accounts for the period preceding 1500 ce, and the invention of agriculture is telescoped into one page. This fits with the goal to chronicle "the global transition to modernity."11 The rest of the survey is divided into three parts, Early Modernity (1500–1800 ce), the nineteenth, and the twentieth centuries.

     Kiple's A Movable Feast (2007) is a largely successful attempt to render the information in the Cambridge World History of Food (2000) as a narrative history, and as such, its scope of topics is just as broad as Tannahill's. Like the other candidates, the book is well named, as the recurring theme is the movement of food, from cultigens (both ancient and Early Modern) to cuisine (recent globalization). Plenty and scarcity recurs as a sub-theme. The chapters—twenty-seven of them—are too numerous to describe individually, but they tend to be organized around a set of domesticates, particular eras, or a historical process. Basically chronological in presentation, the book ranges from the Paleolithic to the twenty-first century in just over 300 pages. The book's geography is the most comprehensively global of all the texts here.

     Conversely, Jones' Feast (2007) has the narrowest horizons, both spatially and in its theme, which concentrates on the process of meals themselves. Feast is an outlier, the work of an archaeologist that does not purport to be a world history. With the exception of jaunts to Tanzania, the Levant, and Oregon, every site in the book is European. It is strictly organized chronologically, with only three chapters' starting points more recent than Jesus' lifetime (1372, 1954, and 1980 ce). Nearly all the chapters begin with an imagined narrative of food production, preparation, or consumption—in other words, the beginning, middle, or end of a feast—a story constructed from archaeological evidence. The author often then treats the reader to a look at the evidence and methodology, then expounds on the diet-related natural and social evolution of the human animal.

     Higman's How Food Made History (2012) shares the thematic assortment of Tannahill, Kiple, and Pilcher. Each of the ten chapters elucidates a small cluster of topics, some of which seem only tangentially related to one another (genetic modifications, taboos, and the global spread of domesticates comprise one chapter). Nearly all the chapters range from very deep history into the recent past, operating also with a geographic breadth. Chapter six covers the Han Dynasty, medieval trans-Saharan trade, Early Modern Russian salt taxes, Indian Ocean pepper and Mediterranean grain routes, the Swahili coast, tinned meat sales in neo-Europes, the demographic explosion and structural adjustment programs in the Global South, and the evolution of the American supermarket, trucking, and container ships in the twentieth century. The central theme of Higman's text is the "choices people made about what to eat and how to produce and consume it, [which] has been a fundamental driver of world history in all its aspects."12

     The varying organization, themes, and chronological coverage of these texts mean that the scope and configuration of world history courses is crucial to determining how they might be incorporated. World history is taught in one, most typically two, or three courses. To complicate the problem further, world histories taught in two or three units also have been periodized differently. Below is a grid (Figure 1) which indicates coverage among the texts. The periodization is adapted from a combination of Peter Stearns' and Jerry Bentley's models; the periodization is decidedly Eurasian-centric, and sometimes Eurocentric.13 The darker shading indicates substantial coverage by the text in question, light shading designates cursory attention, and no shading none. The black line indicates the most common division between two-part world history surveys.

Table 1
  Table 1: Chronological Coverage of the Texts.  

     The chart indicates that Jones in its entirety, and an easily-apportioned section of Kiple or Tannahill generally would be the most suitable for the first semester of a two-semester survey. Two-and-a-half drinks (five chapters) from Six Glasses would also be appropriate. Due to its brevity and sharp focus, Pilcher is easily the strongest candidate for the second semester of a two-part world history course, and a portion Kiple, Tannahill, and both of Standage's books could work in those circumstances. Because of the internal chronologies of Fernández-Armesto and Higman, they would be very difficult to use in either semester of a chronologically-ordered two-semester survey. They might serve a single-semester world history, particularly one configured thematically.

     The other complexity of incorporating one of these texts is whether it conforms to the existing structure of information in the world history course. There are three basic models of coverage, none of which is entirely pure, but which have strategies that can generally be labeled as a) an emphasis on chronological analysis, as discussed above, b) a predominantly sequential regional analysis, and c) a principally thematic analysis. Judging from existing textbooks, the regional approach is by far the most common structure for world history courses.14 Unfortunately, only Tannahill, and maybe—with a substantial effort of chapter selection—Kiple, mirror this model. A dominant thematic analysis is rare among textbooks, but an instructor pursuing this approach, as suggested earlier, could find Higman and Fernández-Armesto useful.15

     Despite its status as the founder of the genre, I cannot as a whole (or even half) recommend Tannahill's Food and History as the main text or chief supplement of a world history course.16 Too much of its information has become outdated or outmoded in the years since its publication, particularly with regard to primitive and "primitive" peoples. The dating and descriptions of hominin evolution that open the book are incorrect, and the portrayal of prehistoric foraging societies as underfed and over-worked no longer has currency in anthropological literature.17 Particularly galling are the depictions of Sub-Saharan Africa and Africans. African food does not warrant its own chapter, just scattered references throughout. The research (she uses) that suggested that Africans never invented domestication has long been superseded. Tannahill's discussion of the Atlantic slave complex rightly addresses sugar plantations, but neglects the cultigens (peanuts, maize, manioc) of the Columbian exchange that altered African economies across the continent. All of "The Dark Continent" is painted as a land of perpetual famine for starving farmers, yet a picture caption claims that "much of Africa in the eighteenth century was still the haunt of pre- or early Neolithic [i.e., stone-agehunters." In reality, iron had been in use across the continent more than a thousand years earlier, and raw iron was a major import from the Atlantic since the sixteenth century, for waiting African blacksmiths. Long-translated major source materials are missing (The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and Ibn Battuta's Rihla describe agricultural production, trade, and meals in West and East Africa), while European observers are cited uncritically. And the statement "Until the very last years of the eighteenth century Europe knew almost nothing about Africa beyond the coastal fringes, and Africa even less about Europe," is entirely ignorant. Many Africans had set foot in Europe as diplomats, slaves, and merchants, and had been doing so for centuries.18 The structure of the book also reveals a subtler Eurocentrism (or Orientalism), by having Europe's cuisine divided into eras, and Asia's into static regions, suggesting that only Europeans changed, were historical peoples. The best parts of Tannahill's book have been replicated in newer volumes, and we would do better to employ them.

     In an old-fashioned sense, Fernández-Armesto's Near a Thousand Tables is the most literary of the texts, given to flights of showy erudition and provocative proclamations. (Pilcher's clean, dense prose reflects more recent literary trends.) Tables might work in a thematic, one-semester world history course—certainly an uncommon combination—but used unaccompanied would not serve to establish a global chronological framework. Its strengths would play to a seminar format with a philosophical approach to the historical meaning of food. For example, in "The Edible Horizon: Food and the Long-Range Exchange of Culture," Fernández-Armesto explores the paradox of the typical human resistance to strangers' cuisines and the evidently historical encounters that created the deeply syncretic foodways of the present.19 He challenges (at least American) received wisdom about the past, "Although a popular, romantic and primitivist view of hunting peoples credits them with ecological sensitivity and conservation strategies, these are really rather unusual. In most hunting cultures, the habit of overkill occurs."20 Among the most impressive passages in the book is a delineation of precisely how the processes of preparation and consumption of meals established high status for certain eaters, and how that changed over time.21

     While Tables' combative nature is one of the reasons that the book is compelling, the bellicosity occasionally produces failures. The author ironically devotes ample space to conversations or arguments with other food history scholarship (sometimes composed of straw), but only cites the most rudimentary endnotes possible as evidence. His allegiance to his own taste buds leads him to make ahistorical moral judgments. During a disquisition mostly on the problem of the microwave, which he admits is liberating in several senses, he claims "The loneliness of the fast food eater is uncivilizing. Food is being desocialized. In the microwave household, home cooking looks doomed. Family life must fragment if people stop having shared meals." He laments the "growing market in the West for boring, overprocessed pap."22 But what of the boring, under-processed pap that constituted nearly everyone's pre-Modern meals? Finally, a few of his more strident arguments fail to adduce convincing evidence. Regarding mollusk "herding," Fernández-Armesto argues that "The increase in the rate of accumulation at many of these sites, usually between about six and eight thousand years ago represents an undetected revolution in the history of food."23 While he appeals to logic as the reason why this must have been so, the archaeological evidence comes from a period when some of the purported Eurasian shellfish husbandmen already had access to domesticated mammals. Still, in this way the book offers ready material for a class investigating bias in secondary sources.

     Standage's two books come the closest to familiar historical narratives, only with beverages either causing or bearing witness to great social transformations. My own students' essays show that the prose and subject matter is accessible and his arguments are clearly laid out. I cannot, however, recommend the entire texts for a world history class. Their "global" stories reflect the problematic "Western Civ-Plus" model of early (and current) world histories.24 Muslims shuffle onstage briefly to provide a few contributions to Europe's ever-upward progress, and then retire; Indians serve only to supply 'Arabic' numerals.25 Although the brutality of the Atlantic slave complex is acknowledged, in Standage's narrative capitalism is an actor that heroically feeds populations, while other economic systems produce starvation. This ignores the recurring historical role of commercialized agriculture in the extraction of food from famine zones. (And Standage knows that massive famines struck British colonial India, as they are referenced briefly in a citation quoted from Amartya Sen.26) These problems notwithstanding, individually several of Standage's chapters offer a welcome supplement to a world history course. He does things like problematize the meaning of "natural" and calls domesticates "technologies" (Edible, Part I), carefully covers the fitful diffusion of crops and cuisines in various chapters, and centers military history on soldiers' stomachs (Edible, Part V). Assigning one piece can show students how food culture, every-day consumption had substantial ramifications historically.

     Pilcher's Food in World History is nearly perfect for a comparative chronological world history set after 1500 ce, particularly a course centered on the construction of Modernity, as Pilcher explicitly connects ideologies of the Modern to recent foodways. The book's brevity means that the whole could even serve as a supplementary reading, while the density of content means that coverage is more than sufficient. The masterful chapter on classical Rome and China encourages hopes that Pilcher composes a "prequel." His great contribution to the genre is telling the stories of Modern proletarian migrations great and small as food history: porters in Africa carrying "civilization" in the form of biscuits and wine; "coolie" and other immigrants' invented diasporic cuisines; oscillating domestic workers and nationalist breakfast soups (Chapters 8 and 9). The only weakness might be the choices of the micro case studies, which have no definite spatial pattern, and might not be easily adaptable to an instructor's needs. For example, McDonald's globalization is pitted against Nando's, a Mozambican chicken fast food franchise.27

     Where Food in World History is precise, Kiple's Moveable Feast is rambling, perhaps befitting its overarching theme. A number of oddities also mar its presentation. The text uses the unusual combination of bce and ad to date events. Specialist jargon, like the word "horticulture," appears without being defined. The author occasionally uses ethnic terminology that would be unsurprising in Tannahill, such as "Moors" and "Saracens," but are largely eschewed in present-day scholarship. Chapter titles are sometimes strikingly inaccurate: "Empires in the Rubble of Rome" largely recounts the story of Turkic nomads and conquerors after 1000 ce, the Mongol Empire, and Song Chinese Modernity.28 Most troublesome, from the perspective of assigning Moveable Feast as reading, is that the chapters (which accurately describe their contents) seem increasingly arbitrary (and redundant) in their division. Although a vast topic, the Columbian Exchange's diffusion over seven chapters is not usefully excessive. Modern "Plenty" earns a place in five chapters. The master narrative is also centered on the Old World, though this may be defensible. The ancient foodways of Americans, Polynesians, and Australians are not described in parallel with contemporary domestications, migrations, and diffusions, but rather in flashbacks when these New Worlds are drawn into the orbit of Europeans. Despite these shortcomings, the unparalleled coverage makes Moveable Feast an excellent sourcebook for an instructor material, and almost any theme can be plucked in chapter form for a short reading, like "Building the Barnyard" which describes the domestication of all the major Eurasian animals, or "Faith and Foodstuffs," which offers a comparative account of the spread of the universalist religions and their eating habits in the first millennium ce.

     Like Moveable Feast, Jones' Feast is probably not suited for reading in an undergraduate course as a whole, but provides several useful chapters that might be inserted in a pre-Modern history. The volume would dovetail best with a survey taking the "Big History" approach, and covers early humanity with a depth that none of the others come close to.29 Most of the chapters present a series of scientific applications to food history. The fourth chapter, "Fire, cooking, and growing a brain," discusses the work of archaeological excavations, ruminates on the chemistry of cooking and the concomitant evolution of the human body, and conducts Neanderthal anthropology. Other chapters explore DNA, extract "dietary inputs" from coprolites, and extrapolate social class from potsherds. The recurring theme of the historical fiction vignettes that open the chapters is the social history of human meals. Although I have not used them for the purpose, they might be part of a useful exercise for advanced classes on how historians construct narratives from sparse evidence. One of the most rewarding components of Feast is its inclusion of rural, non-elite history, treating even "cave men" as fully human. While a Roman official's latrine is excavated in frontier Britannia in one chapter, a contemporary "barbarian" farm girl's pickled corpse is dug from a bog in Germanic Europe in the next, her circumstances deduced from the contents of her dissected stomach. Feast's drawbacks are its Eurocentrism (if taken as a whole) and its difficult arguments.

     The downsides of How Food Made History are of a different nature entirely. Higman's somewhat idiosyncratic groupings of topics to create themes, juxtaposed with a tornadic temporal coverage, make the book's subsections very difficult to incorporate in existing world history frameworks. Although it evaluates some useful subjects with a depth that the other texts treat in a superficial or scattered fashion, like food preservation and packaging, and covers other food realms neglected elsewhere, including feeding in Modern institutions and forest farming, I have not found it worthwhile to introduce in a world history class. It remains, however, a useful sourcebook.

     Nearly all of the books have some utility to a world history classroom, but most of them require some sort of modification to fit them into existing pedagogical frameworks. In upper-division classes not beholden to the strictures of world history surveys, however, a number of the texts might serve students well, and I hope the investigation here has revealed some possibilities in using the books for this purpose. On the professor's shelf, all of these global food histories are useful as sourcebooks, and their peculiarities are sometimes like the frontiers where foodstuffs collide, where the juxtaposition of difference produces a tasty new dish.

Michael McInneshin is an assistant professor of African, Imperial, and Global History at La Salle University who has enjoyed snacking on the streets of Seoul, Dar es Salaam, Oxford, and Berlin. He recently published "Alexander's march, Abu-Lughod's ovals, and other curiosities of world history cartography" in World History Connected. He can be contacted at


1 Felipe Fernández-Armesto with Daniel Lord Smail, "Food," in Andrew Shryock and Smail, eds., Deep History: The Architecture of the Past and Present (Berkeley, University of California Press: 2011), 131. Jonathan Deutsch and Jeffrey Miller "review some of the arguments for making food history a standard part of the curriculum. First, the production of food constituted the livelihood of most people in pre-industrial societies . [F]ood can thus help ground an inclusive history that values their accomplishments. Second, the culture and symbolism provide rich texture to our understanding of past societies . . . . Before the industrial era . . . the intensely physical tasks of gathering, preparing, preserving, and sharing food were very much the fabric of daily life." Deutsch and Miller, "Teaching with Food," in Jeffrey Pilcher, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Food History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 197.

2 Peter Scholliers and Kyir Claflin, eds., Writing Food History: A Global Perspective (London: Berg, 2012).

3 Tom Standage, An Edible History of Humanity (New York: Walker & Company, 2009), and A History of the World in 6 Glasses (New York: Walker & Company, 2005).

4 Jeffrey Pilcher, Food in World History (New York: Routledge, 2006). B. W. Higman, How Food Made History (Singapore: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

5 Reay Tannahill, Food in History, 2nd ed. (New York: Crown, 1988 (1973)). Kenneth Kiple, A Movable Feast: Ten Millennia of Food Globalization (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). Martin Jones, Feast: Why Humans Share Food (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food (New York: The Free Press, 2002).

6 Fernández-Armesto, Tables, xii.

7 Fernández-Armesto, Tables, xii.

8 Mesopotamia and Egypt appear at the beginning, but they are situated as a foundation of the West. See J. M. Blaut, The Colonizer's Model of the World (New York: Guilford Press, 1993).

9 Standage, Edible, xii.

10 Pilcher, World, 74. Although E. P. Thompson's work pre-dates Tannahill's, she does not cite him.

11 Pilcher, World, 5.

12 Higman, Made, x.

13 Ross Dunn, "Periodizing World History," in Dunn, ed., The New World History: A Teacher's Companion (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000), 361–2.

14 Textbooks using this model: Peter von Sivers, Charles Desnoyers, and George Stow, Patterns in World History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); Richard Bulliet, Pamela Crossley, Daniel Headrick, Steven Hirsch, Lyman Johnson, and David Northrup, The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, vol. I, 5th ed. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2011); John McKay, Bennett Hill, John Buckler, Patricia Ebrey, Roger Beck, Clare Crowston, and Merry Wiesner-Hanks, A History of World Societies, 8th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009); Jerry Bentley and Herbert Ziegler, Traditions and Encounters, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008); and Peter Stearns, Michael Adas, Stuart Schwartz, and Marc Gilbert, World Civilizations: The Global Experience, 3rd ed. (New York: Longman, 2001). This model typically becomes less behold to regional organization as it approaches the present.

15 Robert Strayer, Ways of the World: A Brief Global History with Sources, vol. 1 (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011 (2008)).

16 Food in History might be useful for a historiographic exercise, or a study in secondary source bias.

17 Tannahill, Food, 3–5 and 32–33. See Steven Mithen, After the Ice: A Global Human History 20,0005,000 BCE (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006). Although Food in History has reached its fourth edition, only superficial changes have been made since the second edition.

18 Tannahill, Food, 36 and 276–9.

19 Fernández-Armesto, Tables, 132–7.

20 Fernández-Armesto, Tables, 63.

21 Fernández-Armesto, Tables, 113–5.

22 Fernández-Armesto, Tables, 19–20.

23 Fernández-Armesto, Tables, 57. The subject is not un-broached, see Martin Hull, Farmers, Kings, and Traders: The people of Southern Africa 2001860 (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1990).

24 See Robert Bain and Tamara Shreiner, "The Dilemmas of a National Assessment in World History: World Historians and the 12th Grade NAEP," World History Connected 3, no. 3 (July 2006), Standage, of course, is not a world historian even though he has written a history of the world.

25 Standage, Glasses, 93–7 and 136–41. Edible, 75.

26 Standage, Edible,171–92 and 137–8.

27 Pilcher, World, 110–1.

28 Roman "rubble" could conceivably, and more accurately, refer to the fall of the Byzantine Empire, but that would only account for the Ottomans' inclusion.

29 David Christian, Maps of Time: an Introduction to Big History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).


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