“Cuisine and Empire: What does food tell us about culture?” with Rachel Laudan

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Episode 78

Originally broadcast: April 12, 2015

Do you know anyone who is following the paleo diet? How much do they really know about what people ate in our early history? Do you know people who are carb free? If so, what would they say to about the fact that grains have been the centerpiece of almost all human diets? Do you know anyone who loves Chinese food? Well, what makes food Chinese in the first place and why do the Chinese eat so little meat compared to Europeans? This episode loos at the history of cooking and examines its political and, of course, philosophical implications.

Rachel Laudan is a food historian with a PhD from the University of London. She has taught history, philosophy, and science at Carnegie Mellon, She is the author of Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History and the prizewinning book, The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii’s Culinary History. She has served as Scholar-in-Residence for the International Association of Culinary Professionals, written for Saveur, Utne Reader, the Boston Globe, and given keynote addresses for many academic, business, and culinary conferences. After fifteen years in Mexico, she now lives in Austin, Texas.

Note: Several people have asked about the restaurant Jack mentioned after the mid-episode break: Piccolo Cafe. It has several locations in Manhattan, but his favorite is on Amsterdam Avenue, between 74th and 75th street. Tell them that guy from North Dakota sent you!

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