Cover image for The Oxford companion to food
The Oxford companion to food
2nd ed.
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006.
Physical Description:
xxviii, 907 p. : ill. (some col.), maps ; 29 cm.
General Note:
Previous ed.: 1999.
Alan Davidson: a tribute -- Preface to the second edition -- Acknowledgments for the second edition -- Introduction -- Contributors -- Subject index -- Notes on using this book -- Oxford companion to food A-Z -- Maps -- Bibliography -- Index -- Picture acknowledgments.
Added Author:
From the Publisher: Twenty years in the making, the first edition of Alan Davidson's magnum opus appeared in 1999 to worldwide acclaim. Its combination of serious food history, culinary expertise, and entertaining serendipity was recognized as utterly unique. Including both an exhaustive catalogue of the foods that nourish humankind-fruit from tropical forests, mosses scraped from adamantine granite in Siberian wastes, or ears, eyeballs and testicles from a menagerie of animals-and a richly allusive commentary on the culture of food, whether expressed in literature and cookbooks, or as dishes peculiar to a country or community, the Oxford Companion to Food immediately found distinction. The study of food and food history was a new discipline at the time, but one that has developed exponentially in the years since. There are now university departments, international societies, and academic journals, in addition to a wide range of popular literature exploring the meaning of food in the daily lives of people around the world. Alan Davidson famously wrote eighty percent of the first edition, which was praised for its wit as well as its wisdom. Tom Jaine, the editor of the second edition, worked closely with Jane Davidson and Helen Saberi to ensure that new contributions continue in the same style. The result is an expanded volume that remains faithful to Davidson's peerless work. The text has been updated where necessary to keep pace with a rapidly changing subject, and Jaine assiduously alerts readers to new avenues in food studies. Agriculture; archaeology; food in art, film, literature, and music; globalization; neuroanatomy; and the Silk Road are covered for the first time, and absorbing new articles on confetti; cutlery; doggy bags; elephant; myrrh; and potluck have also found their way into the Companion.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 641.3003 DAV 1 1
Reference Book R 641.3003 DAV 1 1
Reference Book R 641.3003 DAV 1 1

On Order



The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson, first published in 1999, became, almost overnight, an immense success, winning prizes and accolades around the world. Its combination of serious food history, culinary expertise, and entertaining serendipity, with each page offering an infinity ofperspectives, was recognized as unique.The study of food and food history is a new discipline, but one that has developed exponentially in the last twenty years. There are now university departments, international societies, learned journals, and a wide-ranging literature exploring the meaning of food in the daily lives of people aroundthe world, and seeking to introduce food and the process of nourishment into our understanding of almost every compartment of human life, whether politics, high culture, street life, agriculture, or life and death issues such as conflict and war.The great quality of this Companion is the way it includes both an exhaustive catalogue of the foods that nourish humankind - whether they be fruit from tropical forests, mosses scraped from adamantine granite in Siberian wastes, or body parts such as eyeballs and testicles - and a richly allusivecommentary on the culture of food, whether expressed in literature and cookery books, or as dishes peculiar to a country or community.The new edition has not sought to dim the brilliance of Davidson's prose. Rather, it has updated to keep ahead of a fast-moving area, and has taken the opportunity to alert readers to new avenues in food studies.

Author Notes

AUTHORAlan Davidson was a distinguished author and publisher, and one of the world's best-known writers on fish and fish cookery. In 1975 he retired early from the diplomatic serivice - after serving in, among other places, Washington, Egypt, Tunisia, and Laos, where he was British Ambassador - to pursuea fruitful second career as a food historian and food writer extraordinaire. Among his popular books are North Atlantic Seafood and Mediterrranean Seafood. In 2003, shortly before his death, he was awarded the Erasmus Prize for his contribution to European culture. EDITORTom Jaine is an independent writer and publisher, specializing in food and food history. He is the author of numerous books, including Cooking in the Country, Making Bread at Home, and Traditional Country House Cooking. He frequently writes for The Times, The Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph, theEvening Standard, and many magazines and journals. He was editor of The Good Food Guide from 1989 to 1994, has presented 'The Food Programme' on Radio 4, and has participated in discussions of food on radio and television. CONSULTANT EDITORJane Davidson underpinned the author, her husband, during the twenty years he devoted to the first edition of this book. She was also translated and edited Dumas on Food with him. She was a founding partner of Petits Propos Culinaire, the innovative journal on food history, writing many of the bookreviews, and a director of Prospect Books Ltd. She is trustee of the Sophie Coe Memorial Trust, and patron of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. RESEARCH DIRECTORHelen Saberi was Alan Davidson's personal assistant, and worked very closely with him on the first edition of the Companion, as contributor, researcher, fact-checker, and proofreader. She is the author of Noshe Djan: Afghan Food and Cookery, and co-author with Alan Davidson of Trifle.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Alan Davidson first published the Oxford Companion to Food in 1999, writing 80 percent of the first edition over a 20-year time frame. Upon Davidson’s death, in 2003, Jaine completed the second edition with the assistance of 70 contributors, all food authorities. This second edition contains much of Davidson’s original content and includes more than 70 new entries-all at the same hardcover price. The new entries range from Canned foods to Slow food and Doggy bag to Paper-bag cookery. An attempt was made to represent all continents of the world in entries for national and regional cuisines (examples include Bedouin, Mayan, and Parsi food); culture, diet, and religion; and food products and techniques used worldwide. However, Western (and often British) roots are apparent in many entries, particularly the new Television and food and Farmers’ markets. The companion contains more than 2,600 articles, generally one-third of a page or longer, which are arranged alphabetically. Entries vary from a brief description of a unique food item, like agar wood, to a several-page description of the origins, varieties, and cooking of more popular items, like apples, bread, and chocolate. Cross-references, highlighted in green text, appear throughout the text along with the occasional black-and-white line drawing. A six-page subject index divides all entries into four major categories: "Food Plants"; "Animal Foods: Birds, Fish, Etc."; "Prepared Foods and Dishes"; and "Everything Else." A selective alphabetical index refers the user to the appropriate entry heading rather than page number. An extensive bibliography assists the reader in locating materials referred to in the text and demonstrates the research involved in this comprehensive guide. Content is similar to that found in Larousse Gastronomique (rev. ed., Clarkson Potter, 2001) and the three-volume Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (Scribner, 2003) but is unique enough to deserve its own spot in the reference collection. Recommended for public and academic libraries, especially where the previous edition was heavily used."--"Polanka, Sue" Copyright 2007 Booklist

Choice Review

The 20 years the author needed to compile this work were time well spent. The most comprehensive international encyclopedia about food, its subjects include food plants, animals, birds, fish, cooked foods, foods having to do with culture, religion, and diets, cookery authors, culinary terms and techniques, and scientific topics. Although international in scope, it places emphasis on continents other than Europe and North America. A sampling of cuisines includes African, Arabian, Australian, Aztec, Inca, Maya, French, Irish, Japanese, Oriental, Pacific Island, and Philippine. Descriptions are detailed and somewhat lengthy, giving readers solid definitions of terms. The work contains no recipes. It has a detailed listing of contents by broad subject headings, an 18-page bibliography, and a selective index. The book is well bound, printed on high quality paper, and contains beautiful and useful illustrations. Recommended for culinary institution libraries, serious cooks, and public libraries. L. A. Morrow-Ruetten; Governors State University

Library Journal Review

The first edition of Davidson's award-winning Oxford Companion to Food appeared in print in 1999. With the second edition of this culinary classic, food writer and publisher Tom Jaine takes editorial charge. While keeping true to Davidson's distinctive and entertaining writing style, Paine has updated many of the approximately 3000 original entries in the book and added 70 new topics (e.g., "Globalization," "Olives"). Covering everything from individual ingredients and cooking techniques to food celebrities and national cuisines, the authoritative and engaging The Oxford Companion to Food is one of the best basic culinary reference books available. In the latest update of The Oxford Companion to Wine, first published in 1994, not only have hundreds of the book's original 3000 entries been revised but over 400 new entries, such as "Coastal Region," "Heritage Varieties," and "Icon Wine," have been added to this superb reference book. Wine expert, journalist, and author Robinson and her contributors continue to write with zesty enthusiasm about everything from the different varieties of grapes to the world's great wineries and geographic areas of production. Bottom Line Both of these reasonably priced classic books are highly recommended for academic and public libraries, especially those that do not already own previous editions; The Oxford Companion to Wine remains the essential wine resource for most any library's collection. John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

A TributeAlan Davidson
Preface to the Second EditionTom Jaine
IntroductionTom Jaine
ContributorsAlan Davidson
Subject Index
Notes on Using this Book
The Oxford Companion to Food A-Z Maps of Food Migrations