Feast – Update

The first chapter of the book had several interesting themes. Jones focuses on the split between more individual and social oriented theories of food. Some argue for food practices as essentially having simple calorie processing functions; others have a more social orientation (e.g., Mary Douglas, author of Purity and Danger). I find the more communal approach more plausible, but perhaps that’s only my own bias!

The other very interesting part of the chapter identified a number of new areas of research made possible by modern technology (bio-archaeology). Pottery shards and fire remains now can be studied for what was in them and even how the food was cooked. These and other similar technologically oriented advances offer new possibilities for research. Just reading this reminds me how hard it is to keep up with advances in other disciplines (and what one might miss because of that).

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