Some Food History Discussion Materials

Martha Carlin



“Marketers adapt menus to eat-what-I-want-when-I-want trend” (Bruce Horovitz, USA Today, 22 November 2011)
Includes an embedded 2:17 min. video profiling a junior at UC Berkeley with a double major and a 30-hour-per-week job
whose non-traditional eating patterns are becoming the new normal for students:

A brief history of the cookbook (“Pluck a flamingo: What cookbooks really teach us,” The Economist, 18 December 2008):

“The science of menu layout” (Zachary Minot, NewYork Magazine, 28 September 2010):
(This article is also available at: )


“Food Fight” (2006, 5:30 min.)
List of battles:
Combatant identity cheat sheet:

“Food, Inc.” (film trailer, 2009, 3:31 min.)
What is being sold in your supermarket? How is is being misrepresented to consumers?

Commercial for Indian spices (2:03 min.)
Young couple . . . new house . . . bottled spices . . .?

Exquisite German flour commercial (1:30 min.)
What is the message of the flour-drawn art?

Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate (0:40 min.)
Combine chocolate with cricket and you get . . . this

“Food Ad Tricks” (from Buy Me That! produced by Consumer Reports© Television, 1989?, 2:59 min.)
A food stylist shows how to style a hamburger to look good on TV

Indian ad for TRS coconut milk (Crossfire films, 2008?, 0:36 min.)
What is this ad trying to convey to viewers?

“Tampopo” (Japanese film, 1985):
(Trailer; 1:52 min.):
(The ramen master, 1:53 min.):
(French restaurant scene, 4:15 min.):

“Goodfellas” (1990):
Dinner in prison, 1973 (2:31 min.):
Meal at Tommy’s mother’s house (played by Martin Scorsese’s mother, Catherine; 3:21 min.):

King of Queens, “Hungry Man” clip (1:13 min.):

Japanese Food Culture: BENTO (3:20)

How to make bento (6:31):

Invention of the original Swanson TV Dinner tray (3:30 min.):
Jell-O Salad Makes the Meal! (1:17 min.):

Betty Crocker Cake Mix (1:35 min.):


Mesolithic Food Quiz: Could you survive today as a hunter-gatherer?

Take a medieval food quiz here, and another medieval food quiz here

Medieval Food and Eating Images:

St. Louis sends food to paupers’ table (French, from Life of St. Louis, 14th cent.)

from the Luttrell Psalter (England, c. 1325-35):

the cooks
kitchen boys turning the spit
serving up
detail of servant
the Luttrells at table
detail of women eating

washing hands at table, from the ‘Vows of the Peacock’ (c. 1300-1325)

Depictions of food preparation, service, and eating: from the Maciejowski Bible (made in Paris for Louis IX, 1244 x 1254):

King David hosts a feast
detail: tableware
detail: panter slicing bread
detail: drinking cup
detail: carved table-end
what’s under the tablecloth?

The Duc du Berry at table, from Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry: January (1412-16):