I teach an anthropology course to final year students at IFT the hospitality school in Macao and this book is a real gem full of anecdotal stories, more so than hard history facts which gives leeway for making your own conclusions to certain things.
Ian Croftan’s Curious History of Food & Drink is a really fun read – everything from the French word restaurant derived from the latin word for restore since the 15th century.
Or ever wondered where the word foie for liver in French originated from? Well the book tells the anecdotal tale of Apicius a gourmet who discovered over feeding geese to enlarge their livers (a practice known in Egypt as early as 2300BC). He employed the same method with pigs, cramming them with dried figs until they were fat enough. The French word “foie” is derived from the latin word for figs – ficatum.
It’s a light read with lots of short, interesting nuggets. Definitely recommend it if you’re interested in little food and drink trivia.