For thousands of years we have grown, cooked and traded food, and over that time much has changed.
Where once we subsisted on gritty, bland grains, we now enjoy culinary creations and epicurean delights made with vegetables from the New World, fish trawled from the deep sea, and flavoured with spices from the Orient. But how did we make that change from eating for survival to the innovations of modern cuisine?
How has food helped to shape our culture? And what will happen when global warming and peak oil have their inevitable effect on agriculture?
Empires of Food is an authoritative exploration of the innumerable ways that food has changed the course of history.
The earliest cities, after all, were founded on the creation and exchange of food surpluses, and since then trade routes of ever greater sophistication have developed.
We've built complex societies by shunting corn and wheat and rice along rivers, up deforested hillsides, and into the stockpots of history. But we cannot go on forever. As Evan D. G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas compellingly show, the abundance that we all enjoy comes at a price, and unless we think of a more sustainable way to grow, eat and enjoy food, we may find that our civilization reaches its best before date.