Reference Question of the Week: How do I find information on food cultures?

How can I find information on different food cultures?

Every culture has different ways of cultivating, preparing, consuming, and sharing food. What you eat is determined by your cultural surroundings, as is when you eat, how you eat, and with whom you eat. Learning about the cultural expectations surrounding food helps shine a light on different ways of living.

To learn more about food cultures first check the online catalog to see if we have a book on the food of the culture that interests you. Using ‘food’ and ‘culture’ as my search terms I immediately hit on a series of e-books (you must be logged into Esearch to access the content of these titles):

Food culture in the Mediterranean [electronic resource] by Carol Helstosky.
Food culture in France [electronic resource] by Julia Abramson.
Food culture in Great Britain [electronic resource] by Laura Mason.
Food culture in China [electronic resource] by Jacqueline M. Newman.
Food culture in Italy [electronic resource] by Fabio Parasecoli.
Food culture in India [electronic resource] by Colleen Taylor Sen.
Food culture in sub-Saharan Africa [electronic resource] by Fran Osseo-Asare.
Food culture in Russia and Central Asia [electronic resource] by Glenn R. Mack and Asele Surina.
Food culture in South America [electronic resource] by José Rafael Lovera ; translated by Ainoa Larrauri.
Food culture in Mexico [electronic resource] by Janet Long-Solís and Luis Alberto Vargas.
Food culture in the Near East, Middle East, and North Africa [electronic resource] by Peter Heine.
Food culture in Japan [electronic resource] by Michael Ashkenazi and Jeanne Jacob.
Food culture in Spain [electronic resource] by F. Xavier Medina.
Food culture in the Caribbean by Lynn Marie Houston.
Food culture in Scandinavia by Henry Notaker.

You might also want to look through an encyclopedia like —

Encyclopedia of food and culture [electronic resource] by Solomon H. Katz, editor in chief & William Woys Weaver, associate editor.

Or, some of these reference books located in the Global Issues Carrel (the table full of books immediately to your right upon entering the library):

The Ethnic Food Lover Companion: understanding the cuisines of the world.
The Oxford companion to Food, 2nd ed.
The Cambridge World History of Food, V. 1 & V. 2
What The World Eats
Food & Culture

Searching for food cultures is one of the times when generating synonyms really pays off. In addition to food, be sure to search for cuisine, and culinary. In addition to food culture, be sure to search for food habits, and/or cooking. You might also consider browsing our shelves. Most food culture books will be found under the TX call number. (Call numbers are the alpha-numeric code we place on the spine of every book. Our collection is alphabetized by the letters on the spines of the books.)

If you want to start with different types of food you can also start with books. We have a variety of books covering foods like sugar, coffee, pizza, vanilla, cod, salt, garlic, and pie.

Some of the databases to start with are World Folklife and Folklore, Academic Search Complete, ProQuest, Sage, JSTOR, SocIndex, Social Sciences, Daily Life Online, and ScienceDirect. Be sure you are logged into Esearch to access these databases.

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