Anthony Rowley

A World History of Food: Tasteful Tactics Publication date : January 9, 2006

“A conversation at table seven years ago made me want to write this book. A Basque, an Italian and myself (I’m Franco-British) were seated round a meal of lentil soup with pain d'épices and Dublin Bay prawn. The Basque said he would have added foie gras, the Italian wanted scampi and I voted for scallops. It took a few glasses of wine for us to realise that we were actually debating the relative merits of the food served in our respective homes.
“What followed was a culinary task: choosing amid thousands of notes; cleaning, comparing and seasoning historical anecdotes about rabbits, pork and grasshoppers; sprinkling critical pepper on legends about restaurants and tales of national reputation; and mixing in thoughts about the food strategies of the powerful, the wiles of the hungry and the dreams of gastronomes.
“This first volume, covering prehistory to the present, argues that the history of food is actually a long quarrel between Ancients and Moderns, which has resulted in a constant play between variation and balance — the mythic “neutral” of the Chinese, or of childhood meals whose remembered taste is necessarily idealised. This is what makes us think creatively about food,” writes Anthony Rowley.

Anthony Rowley is a historian and teaches at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques, in Paris. He is also a food critic and a regular contributor to Gault Millau and Commentaire. He is the author of A Table; Le Vin: une histoire de goût; Atlas historique de la gastronomie française and La Cuisine: une pièce à vivre