In The Devil's Garden : A Sinful History of Forbidden Food, Paperback Book

In The Devil's Garden : A Sinful History of Forbidden Food Paperback

4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


From the forbidden fruit of the Old Testament to the numerous laws broken at Francois Mitterand's final meal, In the Devil's Garden is a mouth-watering history of food taboos from around the world - a smorgasbord of culinary titbits to spice up any after-dinner conversation.

In a history peppered with religious extremists who would rather starve to death than violate ancient taboos, and in an age when half the world's population - from cow-loving Hindus to Kosher Jews and Western vegetarians - still live with harsh dietary restrictions, Allen reveals just how significant, and pervasive, our relationship with food is.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General & world history
  • ISBN: 9781841954059

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

A bit superficial but a fun read nonetheless. All about food and superstition with some speculation as to the why's. Some of the recipies looked interesting but weren't things I'd really eat.Passed on to a fellow bookcrosser who expressed interest as I was reading it.

Review by

Unlike many general history books that choose to examine one topic, Allen covers the topic in a very worldly way. He doesn't just focus on European and Mesopotamian history, which is one strength for this book. He looks at the religious, cultural, and "scientific" reasons foods were banned, deamed illegal or unhealthful, and even how many foods became associated with different social classes. And next time you think "Oh my goodness, I can't believe people once thought you couldn't eat tomatoes," just image how the uproar about GMO food will sounds in 100 years...

Review by

Menus, recipes and historical anecdotes, with comments like "while not as tasy as potbellied rats" preceding a 1st century Roman recipe. A book to be read in bite-sized chunks, rather than to be read from cover to cover. I read it on bus journeys and lunch breaks and I think that the BookCrosser who sent it to me must have read it on the bus too, as I found a Bulgarian bus ticket between two pages.

Also by Stewart Lee Allen