Friday, June 18, 2010

Bread and Salt:

A social and economic history of food and drink in Russia by R. E. F. Smith and David Christian

Competent, but a bit on the plodding side. To an extent the whole structure of the book demands a certain amount of listing and definition. Buffering that it’s necessary for an history to expand on the wider relationships, class divisions and process of historical transformation, and Smith/Christian do all this. The work delivers some strong points in connecting tangible daily material culture to the pattern of resource distribution. Still, the work is never fully compelling, interesting or insightful in the larger themes, and ultimately remains a second-tier piece of analysis.

Better than: A History of Food by Ray Tannahil
Worse than: Recipes for Russia by Alison Smith

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