Rachel Laudan



If you are interested in the co-evolution and global connections of food and culture, then this is a site you may enjoy.

I offered a comprehensive narrative of these interactions from the earliest states to today In my book,Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History published in 2013. Japanese, Chinese (both on the mainland and in Taiwan), and Korean translations have already appeared and a Spanish one is forthcoming.

It was praised in the New York Review of Books as “an exposition as lucid as it is authoritative [which] gives deserved prominence to a long-neglected theme in world history . . . a triumph, pointing the way to a wholly new kind of historiography.”

My blog is the place where I pursue specific issues in more detail.

My historical perspective has led me to conclude that the food movement’s argument that in order to have healthful and tasty food we should turn back the clock, rejecting modern food, has things backward. Never have such a large proportion of humans enjoyed such healthful and tasty food, a case I made in “A Plea for Culinary Modernism: Why We Should Love Fast, New, Processed Food” first published in 2001 and widely reprinted in the past twenty years in publications across the political spectrum.

I regularly appear on television, radio, and in print media. I review for the Wall Street Journal and the Times Literary Supplement. I have acted as expert witness, editorial and museum board member, consultant, and Scholar in Residence for the International Association of Culinary Professionals. And I am a frequent speaker, keynoting events hosted by culinary, academic, and business organizations.

Currently I am Senior Visiting Research Fellow in the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Rachel Grinding Pineapple

Prior to turning to food, I had a successful academic career as a historian and philosopher of science and technology (CV Rachel Laudan 2016). I have lived for extended periods of time on five different continents, giving me the chance to experience many of the world’s cuisines in their places of origin. A childhood on a working farm in southern England where we grew wheat and barley and had a large dairy provided me with a down-to-earth sense of what it takes to produce the raw materials of food.

At the moment, I am deep into a project on who owns land and how it is inherited.


The lovely image of Egyptian grains in the header is thanks to Dina Said, CC Attribute Share-Alike, 4.0 International.

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