Rarely do we read about the roles of food in history. Yet its study offers us a humanizing look at those who lived before us. This unique book examines food's importance during the massive evolution of Europe following the Middle Ages. It was a time when even forks and table manners were remarkable and new. Food became a cardinal concern in explorations of the New World, as well as a fundamental element of global trade. Agricultural revolution gave rise to new farming methods. Science illuminated diet and nutrition. Food historian Ken Albala has written the perfect book for students and other readers interested in the myriad aspects of food in Early Modern Europe. This book answers such questions as: Why did people toil and travel for certain foods, such as spices, when they were already surrounded by an abundance of edible plants at home? How did foods fit in the ritual life of the ordinary villager? Why were people expected to avoid meat for long periods? Why were nobles and peasants expected to eat different food than the lower classes? How did cooking methods differ from our own? This guide also includes many period recipes, never before available in English, along with evocative illustrations and a timeline.