Food Historian

We learn: “Food historians uncover, record, and reproduce food stories, recipes and dishes. They search literary texts and non-fiction works, including old cookbooks, for hints of daily diet and culinary customs to get a clearer picture of what the average person, not just the wealthy and privileged, ate at any given time and place.

They search for new sources studying kitchen inventories, trade and taxation records, and ancient cave carvings, drawings, menus and then look around for ways to use their knowledge. Their information may be combined with a job in travel, teaching, or writing.”

Culinary libraries need the help of historians, as do academic journals and publishers. So, too, do modern movie makers and producers of TV series. Directors must make sure Braveheart warriors, diners on The Titanic, Upstairs, Downstairs and Harry Potter characters eat the food of their period in history.

Trend predictors and futurists rely on historical patterns too because it is imperative to understand the past in order to grasp what is happening now and what is likely to occur in the future.

Writing the history of what we eat provides a geographic destiny, and social history of the nation. Food puts everything into a living, ever evolving reference derived from paintings, photographs as well as diaries and oral histories.