counter create hit Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture

Availability: Ready to download

Why are human food habits so diverse? Why do Americans recoil at the thought of dog meat? Jews and Moslems, pork? Hindus, beef? Why do Asians abhor milk? In Good to Eat, bestselling author Marvin Harris leads readers on an informative detective adventure to solve the world's major food puzzles. He explains the diversity of the world's gastronomic customs, demonstrating tha Why are human food habits so diverse? Why do Americans recoil at the thought of dog meat? Jews and Moslems, pork? Hindus, beef? Why do Asians abhor milk? In Good to Eat, bestselling author Marvin Harris leads readers on an informative detective adventure to solve the world's major food puzzles. He explains the diversity of the world's gastronomic customs, demonstrating that what appear at first glance to be irrational food tastes turn out really to have been shaped by practical, or economic, or political necessity. In addition, his smart and spirited treatment sheds wisdom on such topics as why there has been an explosion in fast food, why history indicates that it's "bad" to eat people but "good" to kill them, and why children universally reject spinach. Good to Eat is more than an intellectual adventure in food for thought. It is a highly readable, scientifically accurate, and fascinating work that demystifies the causes of myriad human cultural differences.


Compare

Why are human food habits so diverse? Why do Americans recoil at the thought of dog meat? Jews and Moslems, pork? Hindus, beef? Why do Asians abhor milk? In Good to Eat, bestselling author Marvin Harris leads readers on an informative detective adventure to solve the world's major food puzzles. He explains the diversity of the world's gastronomic customs, demonstrating tha Why are human food habits so diverse? Why do Americans recoil at the thought of dog meat? Jews and Moslems, pork? Hindus, beef? Why do Asians abhor milk? In Good to Eat, bestselling author Marvin Harris leads readers on an informative detective adventure to solve the world's major food puzzles. He explains the diversity of the world's gastronomic customs, demonstrating that what appear at first glance to be irrational food tastes turn out really to have been shaped by practical, or economic, or political necessity. In addition, his smart and spirited treatment sheds wisdom on such topics as why there has been an explosion in fast food, why history indicates that it's "bad" to eat people but "good" to kill them, and why children universally reject spinach. Good to Eat is more than an intellectual adventure in food for thought. It is a highly readable, scientifically accurate, and fascinating work that demystifies the causes of myriad human cultural differences.

30 review for Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Luis

    Imprescindible para cualquier amante de la cultura, especialmente para los que se preguntan por que algunas culturas hayan repugnante como alimento (Cerdo, perro, lacteos, carne humana) lo que otras encuentran o encontraron perfectamente razonable. Demuestra que estas elecciones no son necesariamente azarosas o arbitrarias, si no que responden a buenos motivos para las culturas que las tomaron.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ypres

    ¿Por qué comemos lo que comemos? ¿Por qué la leche es una bebida deliciosa en Europa y en China se considera una secreción repugnante? ¿Por qué en Asia los bichos forman parte de la dieta y en Occidente nos recorre un escalofrío si una polilla se posa en nuestro brazo? Me ha resultado sumamente interesante enterarme qué da forma a los tabús alimentarios (en resumen: siempre pueden explicarse en base a las condiciones económicas y ecológicas imperantes en la época en la que se establecieron esos ¿Por qué comemos lo que comemos? ¿Por qué la leche es una bebida deliciosa en Europa y en China se considera una secreción repugnante? ¿Por qué en Asia los bichos forman parte de la dieta y en Occidente nos recorre un escalofrío si una polilla se posa en nuestro brazo? Me ha resultado sumamente interesante enterarme qué da forma a los tabús alimentarios (en resumen: siempre pueden explicarse en base a las condiciones económicas y ecológicas imperantes en la época en la que se establecieron esos tabús, y que en muchos casos siguen siendo válidas) y creo que es un libro que debe leer cualquier vegetariano* mínimamente interesado en nutrición y en por qué en el mundo se come lo que se come. Sin falacias, sin necesidad de recurrir a falsedades para demostrar que la dieta vegetariana es superior y lo natural. Porque al final, el vegetarianismo no es más que otro tabú alimenticio basado en razones emocionales y ecológicas, y considero muy interesante la sensación generalizada de que es una dieta "artificial" y que lo "normal y natural" es ser omnívoro. Pero si este libro demuestra algo, es que no hay ninguna dieta "normal y natural". Cada preferencia dietética se basa en condiciones económicas y ecológicas preexistentes que a fuerza de la costumbre se instauraron como tabús alimentarios. Y las condiciones económicas y ecológicas de nuestra era requieren la implantación del vegetarianismo como la única opción dietética responsable. Como puntos negativos, diría que es un libro de 1985 y por tanto puede estar algo desactualizado, que en cierta manera las perspectivas son algo occidentales y, por último, algunos argumentos que esgrime no me han resultado muy válidos. Sentía cierta "circularidad" en ellos, pero no soy capaz de articular las razones detrás de esa sensación. *lo digo como vegetariano. No estoy tirando hate sin más, pero he llegado a leer unos argumentos provegetarianos tan acientíficos y ridículos que...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This is a brilliant book which has changed the way I think about how, and why, people eat animals. Harris makes convincing arguments, based on economics on biology, for the reasons behind animal food taboos and preferences in human cultures. His arguments build successively through the book, so the chapters work more in sequence than they do in isolation. The most interesting chapters, for me, were probably "Meat Hunger" (explaining the privileging of meat as a food source), and that on cannibal This is a brilliant book which has changed the way I think about how, and why, people eat animals. Harris makes convincing arguments, based on economics on biology, for the reasons behind animal food taboos and preferences in human cultures. His arguments build successively through the book, so the chapters work more in sequence than they do in isolation. The most interesting chapters, for me, were probably "Meat Hunger" (explaining the privileging of meat as a food source), and that on cannibalism. The chapters on pets and insect-eating were also very interesting. The chapters on meat production in the United States confirmed my beliefs about the cruel and "unnatural" mechanisms of factory farming, which remain substantially unchanged since the book's publication over twenty years ago. Harris also introduced me to the concept of "optimal foraging theory" (though this is not his invention, but that of ecologists), which explains why humans and other animals focus on acquiring only certain food items in their environment.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mónica Cordero Thomson

    Muy interesante libro de no-ficción donde explica el porqué de nuestros habitos alimentarios y el rechazo a ciertos alimentos (por razones culturales y sobre todo económicas) Me parece que está muy buen expuesto. Me he quedado con ganas de profundizar en este tema. A ver si encuentro libros de esta temática,... Me parece apasionante y enlaza con uno de los aspectos de la Historia que en mi opinión no están muy desarrollados: la Historia de la Alimentación.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Yupa

    Vorrebbe essere un saggio di antropologia, ma a me sembra un saggio di anti-antropologia. Con un'incredibile messe di dati Harris mostra l'origine materiale dei tabù alimentari. In una cavalcata breve ma intensa, pesca da tutti i campi: biologia, alimentazione, ecologia, anatomia, economia, etologia, e tanto altro ancora. Il risultato: i tabù alimentari non trovano la propria origine nella cultura, bensì prima di questa, nelle condizioni materiali in cui gli uomini, nei diversi luoghi del pianeta Vorrebbe essere un saggio di antropologia, ma a me sembra un saggio di anti-antropologia. Con un'incredibile messe di dati Harris mostra l'origine materiale dei tabù alimentari. In una cavalcata breve ma intensa, pesca da tutti i campi: biologia, alimentazione, ecologia, anatomia, economia, etologia, e tanto altro ancora. Il risultato: i tabù alimentari non trovano la propria origine nella cultura, bensì prima di questa, nelle condizioni materiali in cui gli uomini, nei diversi luoghi del pianeta, convivono con le (potenziali) fonti di cibo. La cultura è una razionalizzazione a posteriori di una mera questione di calcoli di costi e benefici: la vacca è sacra perché utile per tutto tranne che come cibo, il maiale impuro perché dannoso, gli insetti non si mangiano finché non si hanno a disposizione migliori fonti di cibo, e così via. La spiegazione di Harris risulta convincente se non altro perché le spiegazioni concorrenti, alla Douglas per dire, secondo cui la bestia impura è tale perché "inclassificabile" non rendono conto delle variazioni regionali e temporali dei tabù alimentari: se il maiale è abominevole perché inclassificabile, perché non è tale in tutto il globo ma solo in Medio Oriente? In tutto questo tuttavia rimane qualcosa di inspiegato, ovvero il salto dal "buono (o cattivo) da mangiare" al "buono (o cattivo) da pensare". Per quale ragione quel che dovrebbe essere un semplice calcolo razionale si trasforma in un tabù dai fortissimi connotati emotivo-viscerali, in cui il primo viene completamente nascosto e mascherato dal secondo, reso irriconoscibile se non in seguito a un poderoso scavo di pensiero come quello operato da Harris? Perché il calcolo razionale, quando entra nel sistema della cultura, perde la sua trasparenza e si trasforma in disgusto spesso intollerante, tanto che chi mangia le cose diverse dalle proprie è un "barbaro" da civilizzare, catechizzare o convertire a forza al menù del più forte? E perché il tabù riesce a mantenersi intatto e fortemente radicato anche quando cadono le sue ragioni materiali? Concretamente: perché il maiale rimane impuro anche secoli dopo il venir meno delle ragioni (addotte da Harris) della sua impurità? Il nocciolo della questione, qui, è il meccanismo psicologico di formazione del tabù e le ragioni del suo persistere. Personalmente ritengo che anche qui sussistano delle ragioni prettamente materiali, ma in questo caso non esterne, bensì interne all'individuo uomo, inscritte in profondità nei circuiti cerebrali che ci portiamo appresso, nella profonda stratificazione e nelle interazioni che vanno dalle strutture più arcaiche del cervello sino alla neocorteccia, là dove emerge l'attività simbolica dei sapiens. Ancora c'è da attendere uno Harris che voglia spiegare con piglio materialistico e senza astrattismi anche questo secondo corno del problema.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Sorry but Marvin Harris is an idiot... Marvin Harris says in Good to Eat that early hunter-gatherers derived 35% of their calories from meat which is four times the average per capita consumption of meat that Americans consume now. In addition, Harris states that “we seem to have descended from a long line of meat-hungry animals,” (Page 29). I disagree with this statement because if we look at our closest primate relatives, many are herbivores like the gorilla and those that are omnivorous like Sorry but Marvin Harris is an idiot... Marvin Harris says in Good to Eat that early hunter-gatherers derived 35% of their calories from meat which is four times the average per capita consumption of meat that Americans consume now. In addition, Harris states that “we seem to have descended from a long line of meat-hungry animals,” (Page 29). I disagree with this statement because if we look at our closest primate relatives, many are herbivores like the gorilla and those that are omnivorous like the chimpanzee eat meat rarely. In my opinion, early man’s diet must have consisted mostly of plant food because there has been evidence to show that humans were not as big of game hunters as we have previously thought. For example, archaeological sites which contain large animal bones are easier to locate than sites without bones. Therefore, there is a bias in the archaeological record to believe that early humans killed large amounts of game but that may be only a small part of the truth because artifacts related to gathering of plants would be less likely to remain in the archaeological record. Also there has been other evidence that shows that early humans were more likely scavengers rather than big game hunters themselves. Harris' protein theory is the stupidest and most asinine thing that I've ever heard.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aurora

    forse un po' datato e quindi un po' "fuori tempo", ma da un punto di vista antropologico è inattaccabile. e si scoprono cose assai interessanti legate alla religione, alle culture e al fatto che non si è mai sicuri di queli siano i veri animali che serve mangiare. consigliatissimo. forse un po' datato e quindi un po' "fuori tempo", ma da un punto di vista antropologico è inattaccabile. e si scoprono cose assai interessanti legate alla religione, alle culture e al fatto che non si è mai sicuri di queli siano i veri animali che serve mangiare. consigliatissimo.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jluisr

    Como todas las obras de Harris, muy entretenidas, sorprendentes, cautivadoras, pero en muchas ocasiones con teorías muy discutibles que sólo él (o su escuela) parece sostener.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gabinka Ricciocornia

    Se è vero che l'uomo è onnivoro (e lo è), allora viene spontaneo domandarsi come mai alcuni popoli preferiscano determinati alimenti e ne detestino altri, o come sia possibile l'esistenza di veri e propri tabù alimentari su alcuni cibi che sono perfettamente accettati presso altre popolazioni. Partendo da questi interrogativi, Marvin Harris indaga sulle origini delle misteriose consuetudini alimentari di ciascun popolo, risalendo alle motivazioni dietro le scelte apparentemente irrazionali che sp Se è vero che l'uomo è onnivoro (e lo è), allora viene spontaneo domandarsi come mai alcuni popoli preferiscano determinati alimenti e ne detestino altri, o come sia possibile l'esistenza di veri e propri tabù alimentari su alcuni cibi che sono perfettamente accettati presso altre popolazioni. Partendo da questi interrogativi, Marvin Harris indaga sulle origini delle misteriose consuetudini alimentari di ciascun popolo, risalendo alle motivazioni dietro le scelte apparentemente irrazionali che spingono ogni cultura a differenziarsi dalle altre riguardo all'alimentazione. Spoiler: non si tratta mai né di scelte casuali, né di bizzarrie legate a miti e religioni. C'è sempre una spiegazione razionale per tutto questo, e l'autore lo spiega perfettamente in questo breve saggio. L'unica pecca del libro, a parte una certa propensione ad usare uno stile prolisso, è che si tratta di un'opera un po' datata e non aggiornata, ragion per cui non si tiene conto di alcune importanti scoperte recenti. Tuttavia le spiegazioni fornite restano valide e convincenti, e la lettura molto appassionante. Consigliato.

  10. 4 out of 5

    trovateOrtensia

    Io però gli insetti non li mangio...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mariele

    This book was first published in 1985. If there is an updated edition, I don't know about it. It is problematic to read a book this old whenever statistics are mentioned. Information such as the rise of beef consumption from the mid-70s to the mid-80s is obviously moot. So especially in the earlier chapters of the book, I was considering to stop reading. A short reminder: when this book came out the Soviet Union still existed, and the European Union had only ten member states. However, I am glad This book was first published in 1985. If there is an updated edition, I don't know about it. It is problematic to read a book this old whenever statistics are mentioned. Information such as the rise of beef consumption from the mid-70s to the mid-80s is obviously moot. So especially in the earlier chapters of the book, I was considering to stop reading. A short reminder: when this book came out the Soviet Union still existed, and the European Union had only ten member states. However, I am glad that I continued the read, as the historical information is really good. Some chapters were truly eye-opening, for example what the spread of Islam has to do with climatic aspects. The cannibalism chapter is also noteworthy. I liked the fact that Marvin Harris refrains from any personal judgement; instead, he takes his approach very seriously to uncover correlations between culture and religion on the one hand, and climate, topography, economics, genetics, etc. on the other hand. I know very little about ethnology, so I could not say whether Mr Harris' theses are controversial or up to speed. But I found his book very intriguing. Sometimes I didn't like the choice of language, but since I read this book in a translation, I couldn't say if it was the writer's or the translator's choices. Also, the writing is very dense, and a few more pauses (i.e. paragraphs), or a more eye-friendly font / line spacing would have helped.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alissa

    One of the things I really appreciate about this book is that Marvin Harris does a great deal to illustrate that people around the world don't have what some might consider to be irrational or unusual food taboos because they are ignorant, but instead because it makes sense in their situations. I would agree that humans are generally very rational and that it is perhaps very ethnocentric of us to immediately assume that folks are ignorant instead of acting in their best interests. This book is f One of the things I really appreciate about this book is that Marvin Harris does a great deal to illustrate that people around the world don't have what some might consider to be irrational or unusual food taboos because they are ignorant, but instead because it makes sense in their situations. I would agree that humans are generally very rational and that it is perhaps very ethnocentric of us to immediately assume that folks are ignorant instead of acting in their best interests. This book is from the 1980s though so it does state some things that other recent work will disagree with and even fails to predict shifts in our own culture have changed since the writing (for example, many more people find veganism to be a successful and fulfilling way of eating). This is a well written and thoughtful introductory text for individuals interested in food taboos (even our own) and why people have them.

  13. 5 out of 5

    David Huertas

    La lectura es fácil y fluida, uno se engancha rápido con el libro. Aunque es un ensayo serio sobre como los humanos elegimos lo que comemos a lo largo de nuestra historia, que esta lleno de datos, cifras, anécdotas e información histórica; la verdad se siente más como hablar con un viajero que se ha sentado en muchas mesas a comer. El libro ya tiene varios años, lo cual se refleja en algunos análisis que se hacen y algunas cifras que se presentan que hoy en día se puede controvertir. Me parece q La lectura es fácil y fluida, uno se engancha rápido con el libro. Aunque es un ensayo serio sobre como los humanos elegimos lo que comemos a lo largo de nuestra historia, que esta lleno de datos, cifras, anécdotas e información histórica; la verdad se siente más como hablar con un viajero que se ha sentado en muchas mesas a comer. El libro ya tiene varios años, lo cual se refleja en algunos análisis que se hacen y algunas cifras que se presentan que hoy en día se puede controvertir. Me parece que una de las falencias grandes que tiene es que no aborda la elección humana por el vegetarianismo (se menciona brevemente en algunos capítulos) y no se reconoce el valor nutritivo de las dietas vegetarianas. Al final el libro te atrapa, te pone en los pies de diferentes culturas y nos hace pensar como las decisiones de lo que comemos han contribuido a construir nuestras sociedades, inclusive si esto implica comernos a nosotros mismos.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Ammetto di aver iniziato un po' a rilento, ma una volta entrata nell'ottica giusta questo saggio è stato una rivelazione! Perchè certi animali in certi luoghi sono dei tabù, mentre in altri sono vere e proprie leccornie? Quali sono le motivazioni culturali che portano determinate religioni a puntare il dito contro alcuni cibi? Quando noi occidentali abbiamo iniziato a pensare con orrore agli insetti come cibo? E perchè non ci mangiamo i nostri cari animali da compagnia? Come mai alcuni popoli tro Ammetto di aver iniziato un po' a rilento, ma una volta entrata nell'ottica giusta questo saggio è stato una rivelazione! Perchè certi animali in certi luoghi sono dei tabù, mentre in altri sono vere e proprie leccornie? Quali sono le motivazioni culturali che portano determinate religioni a puntare il dito contro alcuni cibi? Quando noi occidentali abbiamo iniziato a pensare con orrore agli insetti come cibo? E perchè non ci mangiamo i nostri cari animali da compagnia? Come mai alcuni popoli trovano il latte una bevanda aberrante e molti altri addirittura non lo assimilano affatto? Insomma, se siete curiosi riguardo alle abitudini alimentari nostre e del resto del mondo e volete cercarci una ragione scientifica, questo libro è per voi indispensabile!! :-)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ilmatte

    conosco persone per cui tutto quello che è commestibile è cibo. altre che schifano quasi tutto, altre che mangiano e non sanno perché. probabilmente anche per le singole persone e non solo per le culture si può fare lo stesso esercizio, e capire il motivo di certi rifiuti o preferenze. non ci avevo mai pensato, che non ci sono animali carnivori tra quelli allevati per essere mangiati. purtroppo risente un po' dell'età, negli ultimi trent'anni il mondo è un po' cambiato, ma è comunuqe interessante conosco persone per cui tutto quello che è commestibile è cibo. altre che schifano quasi tutto, altre che mangiano e non sanno perché. probabilmente anche per le singole persone e non solo per le culture si può fare lo stesso esercizio, e capire il motivo di certi rifiuti o preferenze. non ci avevo mai pensato, che non ci sono animali carnivori tra quelli allevati per essere mangiati. purtroppo risente un po' dell'età, negli ultimi trent'anni il mondo è un po' cambiato, ma è comunuqe interessante. (una stella in meno per la pessima traduzione) libro gemellato con: Armi,_acciaio_e_malattie

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michele Bergadano

    "Invecchiando, i buddhisti diventano molto scrupolosi nell'osservanza del divieto di uccisione degli animali, ma sanno sempre trovare qualcuno che assolva a questa sporca bisogna in loro vece." (Marvin Harris) "Invecchiando, i buddhisti diventano molto scrupolosi nell'osservanza del divieto di uccisione degli animali, ma sanno sempre trovare qualcuno che assolva a questa sporca bisogna in loro vece." (Marvin Harris)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    ho imparato tantissime cose sugli Hamburger, sul cibarsi di carne di cavallo, sulla Quaresima.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Belén

    Oh boyy I've been out of touch with social anthropological theory for so long I had forgotten how much I hated cultural materialism. Oh boyy I've been out of touch with social anthropological theory for so long I had forgotten how much I hated cultural materialism.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David

    a very straightforward book about we eat what we eat in different countries. And the evolutions of carnivorous habits from different countries. Worth the read...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tittirossa

    Vacche e maiali celano segreti incredibili!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Littrell

    Fascinating and unsettling Harris is a gifted writer of expository prose who knows how to connect with his readership. Nonetheless some of this is a little depressing since it is about eating insects and human beings. If you can get past that, it's fascinating. "Warfare cannibalism" is a concept encountered here. That's what the Aztecs practiced. Harris explains it all. Modern states don't practice cannibalism because the power structure benefits more from keeping the vanquished alive and producin Fascinating and unsettling Harris is a gifted writer of expository prose who knows how to connect with his readership. Nonetheless some of this is a little depressing since it is about eating insects and human beings. If you can get past that, it's fascinating. "Warfare cannibalism" is a concept encountered here. That's what the Aztecs practiced. Harris explains it all. Modern states don't practice cannibalism because the power structure benefits more from keeping the vanquished alive and producing for the state. Before the rise of the state, the bands and village societies had not the bureaucracy nor the technology to take advantage of the labor of prisoners and slaves, so it was more cost effective to eat them. And they did. Before reading Harris I used to think the Conquistadors were horrible and I despised the Spanish state and all of Christendom; however now that I know the nature of the savages of America, it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. Harris makes it clear that we don't eat horsemeat because the horse is less effective at turning grass into meat than ruminants and so horse meat would be more expensive than beef. He shows how horses were extremely valuable as instruments of war. Calvary troops easily defeated infantry. He recalls the Asiatic pastorales who became the mongrel hoards who learned to ride their little horses so effectively that they conquered vast areas from China to Europe. They would ride practically from birth, more on a horse than off. They kept several horses in a caravan and cut the artery in the horse's neck on a ten-day or so rotation and drank the blood. They rode their horses until they dropped and then ate them, but only then. The Europeans learned from them to use the horse as an instrument of war. The European horses were breed much larger to hold a man and a hundred pounds of armor, and to pull wagons and plows. Horses were only eaten after the horse was too old to work. It became a clear status symbol to own horses, and so eating horseflesh became something the upper classes would never do, but something the lower classes were sometimes reduced to. Meat hunger and fat hunger have been facts of life for humans for the millennia. Our populations have always increased to the point that meat and fat became hard to get for the poorer people, and in many cases, impossible. Reading Harris makes one believe that the single most important detriment to human well-being is overpopulation. Again and again humans overwhelmed their resources. Today we have so much here in America while in India and places like that most people are hungry, especially for meat and fat. It is only the amazing explosion in technology and the use of fossil fuels that has allowed the current population growth. Still we have too many people. Insects are eaten by most societies, but seldom as an important source of protein because the supply is unstable. Monkeys that jump from branch to branch eating a bite of fruit and then throwing it down and grabbing another to eat just a bite or two before discarding it are actually looking for insects. They want the apple with the worm in it! Humans typically eat insects that swarm or are otherwise in large supply at once. When the locusts come you might as well eat them because they won't be leaving much plant food to eat. But it is in the tropical climes that most insects are eaten since jungles do not provide a convenient large-animal, ruminant source of meat to satisfy protein needs. Locusts and grubs, termites and ants, especially the fat-rich sexual forms, are the best insects to eat. The giant water bug of Southeast Asian is much prized. Eating insects would provide essential protein, if we would do it, and we would, if it were necessary. The chitin of the skeletons cannot be digested, but that is a minor problem. Some people roast and/or boil the insects and then pick off the legs before ingesting. Eating water bugs is apparently a little like eating a small lobster. They pick out the flesh with little sticks. If you haven't read Marvin Harris, you are missing one of the great writers from anthropology. --Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”

  22. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Yeah, the research was good, but I'm not a statistical interested reader. I don't care if zebu are more important than camels or buffalo for ploughing, and why the Indian farmers have to preserve the former, and why all the religious sects through history had/have a say in what animals are taboo and not able to be eaten, and why vegetarian diets are so unhealthy, and why veganism is bad! The Jain religious sect has rooms put aside for insects to be protected from humans...duh! Okay the book was Yeah, the research was good, but I'm not a statistical interested reader. I don't care if zebu are more important than camels or buffalo for ploughing, and why the Indian farmers have to preserve the former, and why all the religious sects through history had/have a say in what animals are taboo and not able to be eaten, and why vegetarian diets are so unhealthy, and why veganism is bad! The Jain religious sect has rooms put aside for insects to be protected from humans...duh! Okay the book was printed back in the 80's and not particularly current right? Much of the information was interesting and of essential knowledge if I was Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist etc, but I'm none of those, so a lot was lost to me. I am a healthy senior citizen who has eaten her way around the world, and personally refuse to be dictated to on what to eat, but can be educated on what others will, so kudos to Harris for that presentation.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrés Pineda

    Un libro genial para entender algunos enigmas alimenticios. Por ejemplo, ¿por qué, mientras unas sociedades consumen leche y sus derivados, otras no?; ¿por qué en Estados Unidos —o en Colombia— no se come carne de caballo, pero algunos pueblos de las estepas —o en Francia— sí?; ¿por qué la sola idea de llevarnos un insecto a la boca nos aterroriza, si culturas en el Amazonas o en el Sudeste Asiático cocinan un largo menú de bichitos? Marvin Harris responde a estas preguntas y nos invita a compren Un libro genial para entender algunos enigmas alimenticios. Por ejemplo, ¿por qué, mientras unas sociedades consumen leche y sus derivados, otras no?; ¿por qué en Estados Unidos —o en Colombia— no se come carne de caballo, pero algunos pueblos de las estepas —o en Francia— sí?; ¿por qué la sola idea de llevarnos un insecto a la boca nos aterroriza, si culturas en el Amazonas o en el Sudeste Asiático cocinan un largo menú de bichitos? Marvin Harris responde a estas preguntas y nos invita a comprender las costumbres o tabúes de los otros sin despreciarlos. En últimas, lo que comemos —o no— resulta de una compleja interacción de factores sociales, ecológicos e históricos. No es simple capricho humano... O rara vez lo es.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    A lot of interesting things in this book! I really liked the materialist analysis of foodways: the chapters on meat hunger, beef aversion, pig aversion, and insectivory to be particularly good. However I found that arguments for US's beef consumption and cannibalism to be less compelling and have holes in them. I especially think that reducing cannibalism down to whether societies were state centered or not to be extremely reductive, and doesn't seem to hold up when looking at non-North American A lot of interesting things in this book! I really liked the materialist analysis of foodways: the chapters on meat hunger, beef aversion, pig aversion, and insectivory to be particularly good. However I found that arguments for US's beef consumption and cannibalism to be less compelling and have holes in them. I especially think that reducing cannibalism down to whether societies were state centered or not to be extremely reductive, and doesn't seem to hold up when looking at non-North American/Oceanic societies (and even in those examples seem cherry-picked though I don't know enough to confirm that.)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marco Bahon

    Fun to read and full of information.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Liam Wheeler

    Imagine actually believing a cultural materialist explanation for ritualistic cannibalism lmaooo

  27. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Un libro muy interesante, que me ayudó a comprender que algunas cosas que en principio no entendemos, tienen su explicación.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Harris’ study focuses on debunking the notion that human foodways are irrational. He proposes mostly economic but occasionally sociological explanations for things that have often been attributed to the irrationality of tradition, and especially the irrationality of religion. Examples include the Hindus not eating beef (the economics of a crowded country), Jews and Muslims not eating pork (swine are too costly in the climates where these religions are concentrated), and the lack of dairy in Chin Harris’ study focuses on debunking the notion that human foodways are irrational. He proposes mostly economic but occasionally sociological explanations for things that have often been attributed to the irrationality of tradition, and especially the irrationality of religion. Examples include the Hindus not eating beef (the economics of a crowded country), Jews and Muslims not eating pork (swine are too costly in the climates where these religions are concentrated), and the lack of dairy in Chinese and Japanese diets (it was unnecessary nutritionally because they acquired enough Vitamin D through sun and leafy greens, whereas Northern Europeans did not). Much of his explanations involve the rationality of eating that which provides the most calories and/or vitamins for the amount of effort required to produce the food, which he calls “optimal foraging” or something. It was an interesting enough book, but I’m hoping the next one I read by him (Cannibals and Kings) will be more a bit less dry and a bit more groundbreaking. Maybe I shouldn’t be reading anthropology books from twenty five years ago.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Clara Mazzi

    Insoddisfacente. Molto casereccio e molto personale - e pertanto molto opinabile - a tal punto che non solo il banale lettore non si ritrova negli scritti di Harris (per altro docente alla Columbia) ma anche diversi suoi colleghi e lo criticano avanzando praticamente gli stessi dubbi del lettore (per esempio sono rimasta molto perplessa, assieme ad altri antropologi citati da Harris, davanti all'affermazione che il cannibalismo degli Aztechi era in realtà una risorsa per mangiare carne che non s Insoddisfacente. Molto casereccio e molto personale - e pertanto molto opinabile - a tal punto che non solo il banale lettore non si ritrova negli scritti di Harris (per altro docente alla Columbia) ma anche diversi suoi colleghi e lo criticano avanzando praticamente gli stessi dubbi del lettore (per esempio sono rimasta molto perplessa, assieme ad altri antropologi citati da Harris, davanti all'affermazione che il cannibalismo degli Aztechi era in realtà una risorsa per mangiare carne che non si sarebbero riusciti a procurarsi altrimenti se non a prezzo di grandi difficoltà. Mah!) e che l'autore (con grande innocenza/ingenuità/self assurance) propone poi a fine testo, confutandoli - in maniera molto debole però. Tanta "storia del cibo", ma vista da una prospettiva personale, determinata a piegare i fatti alle ipotesi sviluppate, poche tesi interessanti a cui vengono date risposte deboli. Non mi ha convinta.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    Basically, it makes sense, which is good. But I didn't really like the slant -- ok it didn't seem very well thought out to me. I felt that the chap had done his research, which is always a good thing. But then he doesn't sufficiently explain the links... for instance he talks of a dialectic between religious food taboos and the scarcity of food etc. But this dialectic is never thoroughly explained, at least, not thoroughly enough to my liking. I originally gave it 2 stars, but I figured the guy h Basically, it makes sense, which is good. But I didn't really like the slant -- ok it didn't seem very well thought out to me. I felt that the chap had done his research, which is always a good thing. But then he doesn't sufficiently explain the links... for instance he talks of a dialectic between religious food taboos and the scarcity of food etc. But this dialectic is never thoroughly explained, at least, not thoroughly enough to my liking. I originally gave it 2 stars, but I figured the guy had done enough research and basically has got a sound idea (it's simply the execution that bothers me a bit). The biological essentialism also bothers me a bit -- it shows from time to time, you know -- esp at the parts he talks about vegetarianism -- he doesn't explain how being vegetarian becomes "good" despite his enthusiastic claim that he's recognising the diversity of the cultures and etc.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.