[Sca-cooks] Fwd: BMCR 2008.03.26, H.E.M. Cool , Eating and Drinking in Roman Britain

Sandra Kisner sjk3 at cornell.edu
Wed Mar 19 10:24:31 PDT 2008

I can send the complete review to anyone who is interested, or you can 
check the website.

>From: Bryn Mawr Reviews <bmr at ccat.sas.upenn.edu>
>To: bmr-l at brynmawr.edu (Bryn Mawr Reviews)
>Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 09:15:28 -0400 (EDT)
>Subject: BMCR 2008.03.26, H.E.M. Cool , Eating and Drinking in Roman Britain
>H.E.M. Cool, Eating and Drinking in Roman Britain.  New York:
>Cambridge University Press, 2006.  Pp. 282.  ISBN 978-0-521-00327-8.
>GBP 19.99 (pb).
>Reviewed by Renate Kurzmann, Open University (renate.kurzmann at ucd.ie)
>Word count:  2404 words
>To read a print-formatted version of this review, see
>Table of Contents
>H.E.M. Cool's book about food in Roman Britain successfully combines a
>variety of archaeological, biological, epigraphic and literary sources,
>including very recent excavation results, as well as a review of
>secondary sources, by focussing on all aspects of food and nutrition in
>the province. The book achieves both a detailed overall summary and a
>comprehensive approach using a variety of methods and sources. It is an
>invaluable source of information for any scholar researching the
>subject of Roman food and drink, a subject which has previously not
>been comprehensively presented for the province of Britain. However, it
>will also be appealing to the general reader interested in the subject
>of Roman food.
>Cool is interested in food as an indicator of social habits and
>presents a culture's eating habits as one of the keys to its
>understanding. The book is divided into three parts. The first part
>(Chapters 1-5) deals with the sources on food in Roman Britain,
>including written sources, inscriptions and archaeological and
>biological evidence. The second part (Chapters 6-15) discusses general
>food patterns in Roman Britain, including ingredients and cooking
>techniques. The third part (Chapters 16-19) deals with the cultural
>implications of food in Roman Britain and selects certain sites to show
>the different tastes of different communities.
>[snip most of the review]
>Overall, this is an extremely valuable and informative new study, which
>both summarizes old data and new findings extremely coherently and
>which provides a very good analysis of the social implications of
>eating and drinking in Roman Britain. As a minor point of criticism, in
>the reviewer's opinion, a brief comparison of foods within the province
>with those from the areas outside the Roman frontier in the general
>third part of the book, would also have been desirable since it would
>have been interesting to compare native sites with little Roman
>influence with ones with more influence within the province and to
>investigate if any food influences reached the non-Roman North at all.
>Also, very occasionally the author moves away from the subject of food,
>by discussing eating and drinking habits from elsewhere and evidence
>for other aspects of Roman life, such as literacy, which is slightly
>confusing. However, overall, this book is extremely well-researched and
>written and presents a very detailed summary of the subject and can be
>recommended highly to both scholar and enthusiast alike.

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