Ken Albala Ph.D.

Ken Albala Ph.D. >

37
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What Early Agriculturalists Ate
Episode 2 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
The transition to agriculture was perhaps humanity's single greatest social revolution, with mixed results. 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. Learn…
Hunting, Gathering, and Stone Age Cooking
Episode 1 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Consider food as a major catalyst in human history, and what food choices reveal about our values and ambitions. Then study food culture in prehistoric times--our ancestors' wide-ranging diet of everything from mammoths and seafood to acorns, insects, seeds, and…
Dutch Treat—Coffee, Tea, Sugar, Tobacco
Episode 22 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
The 17th and 18th centuries saw the rise of European colonial empires, where trade in exotic foods abetted slavery and forced labor. Follow the conquests of the Dutch, British, and French, and grasp how the trade in a group of…
Aztecs and the Roots of Mexican Cooking
Episode 16 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Contemporary with the European Renaissance, Aztec culture produced a unique food tradition that survives today in Mexican cuisine. Learn first about Aztec society, its indigenous foods, and distinctive diet. Also study descriptions of lavish Aztec banquets; "signature" foods, from avocados,…
Ancient India—Sacred Cows and Ayurveda
Episode 7 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Ancient India gave birth to culinary traditions that still carry wide influence. Learn about the culture of the Aryans, whose religion prefigured Hinduism; food customs relating to caste; and the traditions of vegetarianism in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Also study…
World War II and the Advent of Fast Food
Episode 33 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Food technologies developed to aid the war effort became the template for American eating in the postwar era. Follow the proliferation of freeze-dried and convenience foods, TV dinners, and chain restaurants as they shaped food culture. Study the phenomenon of…
Food Imperialism around the World
Episode 30 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, European colonialism expanded across the entire globe as a form of economic empire building. Grasp how Western powers came to control massive production of export crops in nonindustrialized countries, and how political…
First Restaurants, Chefs, and Gastronomy
Episode 28 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
European culinary art blossomed in the 18th and 19th centuries. Learn about the West's first true restaurants in 18th-century Paris and the formalized structure of meals served in multiple courses. Follow the exploits of four of the first celebrity chefs…
Classical Greece—Wine, Olive Oil, and Trade
Episode 5 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Grasp how the ancient Greeks' need for arable land led to their imperial and mercantile system, and consider what we learn about their food culture from Homer, Hesiod, Pythagoras, and Plato. Observe the role of food in the rituals of…
Islam—A Thousand and One Nights of Cooking
Episode 12 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
The rise of Islam brought a new way of thinking about food. Contemplate the Muslim cultural values that permitted pleasure, the cultivation of the senses, and the creation of an exquisite cuisine. Study Islamic eating rituals and Persian-influenced culinary techniques,…
Ancient Judea—From Eden to Kosher Laws
Episode 4 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Practices regarding food were deeply integral to the lives of the ancient Hebrews. Explore prescriptions regarding food in Genesis, and consider that the Fall itself was an act of eating. Then learn about the Hebrew rituals and meaning of sacrifice,…
Immigrant Cuisines and Ethnic Restaurants
Episode 31 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
This episode explores the significant ways in which American eating habits have been shaped by immigrants. Investigate the social phenomenon of immigration, and how food cultures are imported and adapted. Learn how Italian, Jewish, and Mexican foods entered the American…
Yin and Yang of Classical Chinese Cuisine
Episode 8 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Chinese culture produced what is arguably the most complex, sophisticated, and varied culinary tradition on earth. Trace the rise of civilization in China from the Hsia to the Han dynasty, the social and technological factors underlying China's elaborate food traditions,…
Egypt and the Gift of the Nile
Episode 3 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Ancient Egypt's prosperity, court culture, and isolation from conflict led to a sophisticated food tradition and the first "elite" cuisine. Study the archaeological evidence of their food customs, the religious significance of foodstuffs and animals, and the components of their…
Counterculture—From Hippies to Foodies
Episode 34 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Explore the revitalization of food culture in the late 20th century, beginning with the health food movement and new dietary ideologies. Track the vibrant new era in food reflected in the work of influential food writers and cooks, artisan food…
1492—Globalization and Fusion Cuisines
Episode 17 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Humanity's desire for spices and other luxury items eventually connected the entire globe. Track the powerful trading empires of the Venetians and Portuguese, the Spanish conquest of the New World, and the "Columbian exchange"--where plants and animals from five continents…
Edo, Japan—Samurai Dining and Zen Aesthetics
Episode 24 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Contemplate the traditional Japanese reverence for nature as reflected in their respect for the natural flavors of all foods. Study the elements of Japan's refined and elegant cuisine, the origins of sushi, and the aesthetics of ritualized manners, decoration, and…
The Birth of French Haute Cuisine
Episode 20 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
In the mid-17th century, France assumed a preeminent position in the art of cooking. Here, grasp the aesthetics of the new French cuisine, based in subtlety, refinement, and pureness of flavors. Discuss four French cookbooks that revolutionized culinary history and…
Early Christianity—Food Rituals and Asceticism
Episode 10 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
Food and its symbolism played a distinct role in the development of Christianity. Observe the role of food in Jesus's parables and miracles, as well as in the ritual of the Eucharist. Learn about early Christian and monastic dietary prescriptions,…
War, Nutritionism, and the Great Depression
Episode 32 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
In early 20th-century America, discover how World War I changed the way civilians eat. Observe how corporations dictated the American diet, and witness the advent of chain supermarkets, junk foods, the marketing of food with health claims, and the government's…