Food: A Cultural Culinary History Podcast - The Great Courses

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 Jul 30, 2018
amazing stuff. like carlin, graham, or duncan, but with food.


Learn how the entirety of human civilization—war, trade, politics, art, religion, and more—has been shaped by our interaction with food in this delicious course.

Episode Date
Hunting, Gathering, and Stone Age Cooking
In episode one of Food: A Cultural Culinary History, we're going to consider food as a catalyst in human history, and what our food choices reveal about our values and ambitions. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
What Early Agriculturalists Ate
The transition to agriculture is perhaps humanity’s single most important social revolution - and one that was not without its tradeoffs. In episode 2 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History we're going to explore the factors surrounding the rise of agriculture, how plants and animals were domesticated, and why agriculture directly led to civilization as we know it. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Egypt and the Gift of the Nile
Ancient Egypt’s prosperity, impressive court culture, and their isolation from conflict led to a sophisticated food tradition and the emergence of the world's first “elite” cuisine. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Ancient Judea—From Eden to Kosher Laws
Practices regarding food were deeply integral to the lives of the ancient Hebrews. In episode 4 we'll explore prescriptions regarding food in Biblical Genesis, and consider that the Fall of Adam and Eve itself was an act of eating. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Classical Greece—Wine, Olive Oil, and Trade
In this episode, we’ll discover how the ancient Greeks’ need for arable land led to their imperial and mercantile system, and we’ll consider what we learn about their food culture from such sources as Homer, Hesiod, Pythagoras, and Plato. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
The Alexandrian Exchange and the Four Humors
Alexander the Great's conquests heralded an era where previously unconnected cultures mixed on a large scale. In this podcast, we’ll trace the diffusion of foodstuffs over vast trade networks in the Hellenistic period. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Ancient India—Sacred Cows and Ayurveda
In this episode, we’re going to learn about the culture of the Aryans, whose religion prefigured Hinduism; we’ll discuss food customs relating to India’s caste system; and we’ll even touch upon the traditions of vegetarianism in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Yin and Yang of Classical Chinese Cuisine
Chinese culture has produced what is arguably the most complex, sophisticated, and varied culinary tradition on earth. In this podcast we’re going to trace the rise of civilization in China from the Hsia to the Han dynasty. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Dining in Republican and Imperial Rome
In this episode we’re going to Ancient Rome, where we’ll delve into some intriguing contrasts in the dining habits of the ancient Romans. We’ll examine the simple food customs of republican Rome, and then trace the expanding empire and learn how exotic food became a status symbol. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Early Christianity—Food Rituals and Asceticism
In today’s podcast we’re going to observe the role of food in Jesus’s parables and miracles, as well as in the ritual of the Eucharist. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Europe’s Dark Ages and Charlemagne
The fall of Rome and the rise of Germanic tribal kingdoms brought significant culinary changes to Europe. In this podcast episode we’re going to examine the “barbarian” diet and the culture of “fast and feast” which emerged from the opposing ideals of Christian asceticism, German meat-eating virility, and classical moderation. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Islam—A Thousand and One Nights of Cooking
In this podcast we’re going to examine the Islamic take on food and cooking. We’ll contemplate the Muslim cultural values that permitted pleasure and the cultivation of the senses, and we’ll look at their creation of an exquisite cuisine. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Carnival in the High Middle Ages
In today’s podcast, we’re going to learn about great innovations in medieval European cooking. We’ll see how contact with Islamic civilization during the crusades and the Reconquista, changed European cooking forever. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
International Gothic Cuisine
Ironically, the horrific bubonic plagues in 14th-century Europe produced societal shifts that led to a resplendent era in food. In today’s podcast we’re going to look at the influence of three seminal Gothic era cookbooks and the craze for spices and sugar in the flourishing of “Gothic” cuisine. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
A Renaissance in the Kitchen
The Italian Renaissance brought a new aesthetic approach to cookery, featuring great complexity of presentation. In this podcast we’re going to uncover some of the era’s extremes in books by Renaissance food writers. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Aztecs and the Roots of Mexican Cooking
At the exact same time as the European Renaissance, the Aztec culture produced a unique food tradition that survives to this very day in Mexican cuisine. In this podcast, we’re going to learn about Aztec society, its indigenous foodstuffs, and it’s very distinctive diet. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
1492—Globalization and Fusion Cuisines
It was actually humanity’s desire for spices and other luxury items that eventually connected the entire globe. In this episode we’re going to investigate the powerful trading empires of the Venetians and Portuguese that secured stable routes to the spice islands. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
16th-Century Manners and Reformation Diets
In today’s podcast we’re going to examine a fascinating new dynamic in culture that swept across Europe in the 1500s. We’ll see the emergence of cutlery, elaborate tableware, ritualized behavior at the table. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Papal Rome and the Spanish Golden Age
In this podcast we’re going to explore the rise of regional and national cuisines in Europe, focusing on Italy and Spain. We’ll read the culinary writings of Bartolomeo Scappi – a brilliant Italian chef who brought together specialty dishes from all over Italy. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
The Birth of French Haute Cuisine
In the mid-17th century, France assumed a preeminent position in the art of cooking. In today’s podcast we’re going to explore the aesthetics of the newly emerging French Haute cuisine, It’s a way of cooking that is based in subtlety, refinement, and pureness of flavors. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Elizabethan England, Puritans, Country Food
English cookery’s unflattering reputation really conceals a rich and varied culinary past. In today’s podcast we’re going to look at the religious and political factors that ended up producing multiple different versions of English gastronomy. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Dutch Treat—Coffee, Tea, Sugar, Tobacco
In today's podcast, we'll follow the conquests of the Dutch, the British, and the French, and we'll discuss how the trade in a group of entirely superfluous, edible, luxury items changed the focus of the global economy and the global cuisine. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
African and Aboriginal Cuisines
In this episode we're going to learn about the distinctive African foodways. These are food ecosystems that predated extensive outside contact. They encompass traditions such as rich stews and “fufu” which is a starch-based porridge. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Edo, Japan—Samurai Dining and Zen Aesthetics
In today's podast, we're travelling all the way to the islands of Japan, where we will contemplate how traditional Japanese reverence for nature is reflected in their respect for the natural flavors of food. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Colonial Cookery in North America
In today's podcast we're going to contrast the culinary fashions of colonial Virginia which were modeled on the English gentry, with the mercantile, Puritan ethic of New England. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Eating in the Early Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution brought far-reaching changes in food production and culture. In this episode, we'll travel to the British Isles and observe how the advent of industrially organized farming, urban labor, and mass production led to the artificial modification of food and a decline in the quality of diet [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Romantics, Vegetarians, Utopians
In the 19th century, food-conscious social movements reacted against the many ills of industrial society. In today's podcast. we're going to delve into new dietary ideologies that stressed purity and were backed by both quasi-scientific and religious thought. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
First Restaurants, Chefs, and Gastronomy
In today's podcast we're going to learn about the West’s first true restaurants in 18th-century Paris. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Big Business and the Homogenization of Food
In today's episode we're going into the underbelly of food production. We'll investigate the process by which late 19th-century food production became a vast industry. And we'll see how technological developments such as freezing, canning, and pasteurization gave large companies increasing amounts of control over food production. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Food Imperialism around the World
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, European colonialism expanded across the entire globe as a form of economic empire building, with food production as a primary form of wealth creation. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Immigrant Cuisines and Ethnic Restaurants
In today's podcast we’re going to explore the significant ways in which American eating habits have been shaped by immigrants. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
War, Nutritionism, and the Great Depression
In this podcast we’re going to examine a pivotal shift in food consumption that took place in the early 20th century. First, World War I is going to change, forever, the way civilians eat. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
World War II and the Advent of Fast Food
During WWII, a whole host of new food technologies were developed to aid the war effort. In this podcast we’re going to explore how these technologies became the template for American eating in the postwar era. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Counterculture—From Hippies to Foodies
In today’s podcast we’re going to explore the backlash against processed food in the late 20th century. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
Science of New Dishes and New Organisms
In today’s podcast we’re going to witness the melding of science and fine dining in the ingenious creations of “modernist” cuisine. [...]
Oct 02, 2017
The Past as Prologue?
In our final podcast for this series, we’ll conclude with Professor Albala’s intriguing predictions on the future of our food culture. [...]
Oct 02, 2017