How Would You Like Your Mammoth?

12,000 Years of Culinary History in 50 Bite-Size Essays

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Pub Date May 07 2024 | Archive Date May 05 2024

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Did you know that Egyptians mummified beef ribs for their dearly departed to enjoy in the afterlife? That Roman gladiators were relegated to a vegan diet of grains and beans? That the fast-food hamburger was a result of a postwar, high-efficiency work ethic? This is not a cookbook; instead, How Would You Like Your Mammoth? is a chronological journey through the culinary history of humankind, with fifty short, snackable essays packed to the brim with juicy tidbits and cultural insights. With author Uta Seeburg as your guide, you’ll learn not only which dishes are linked to key cultural moments, but also how each represents the social hierarchy and values of the civilization that invented it. Discover how and why:

  • The Columbian exchange gave Indian curry its spicy kick
  • Roasted swan became the centerpiece of choice in spectacle-loving 1650s high society
  • A Portuguese princess helped popularize tea in England
  • The first dish ever to be prepared live on television was an omelet
  • And much more
Foodies and history buffs alike will savor every amusing yet educational historical snapshot, from one of the oldest recorded recipes (lamb stew with barley and onions) to out-of-this-world food fit for astronauts (dehydrated chicken soup just like mom used to make). How Would You Like Your Mammoth? is the perfect gift book to bring a taste of history—and fun—to any dinner party.

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ISBN 9781891011597
PRICE $19.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

“Food is pleasure, of course, but it is also memory, escapism, and nostalgia” “The rule of hospitality establishes community - but it is the food that creates communality”

How Would You Like Your Mammoth? is a collection of short non-fiction snippets about food and its interactions with humans and society.

This book covers a very long time period and so it definitely felt overall like it had a slow pace. The bite-sized pieces however, means that if you’re going to read this, I highly recommend taking your time. Each specific food history is probably 3 or 4 pages and relatively digestible but trying to read any more than two or three food histories became difficult.

Overall, I felt like I learned a decent amount of new information about the history of food. Truthfully, I’m not sure how much will stick with me as a lot of it was older foods that wouldn’t necessarily still be eaten today, but this was a fascinating read nonetheless. A lot of facts and brief origin stories (when able) made this enjoyable.

The author’s personal opinions do seem to make its way into the book near the end, as we get into more modern history. Not that I necessarily disagree with any of their opinions but they do become much more prevalent near the end which may put some readers off. However, as mentioned throughout - food is politicized - and the opinions are ultimately to be expected!

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What a fun book! Each few pages is a cool story about some type of food and where it came from. This is easy to pick up when waiting in a line or in the doctor's office. I learned so much!

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This is a collection of short, non-fiction vignettes about food and how it has interacted with humans throughout time. I definitely learned a lot from this read!

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