food history

Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling author of "Havana," "Cod," "Salt," "Paper," "The Basque History of the World," "1968," and "The Big Oyster," among other titles. He has received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Bon Appetit's Food Writer of the Year Award, the James Beard Award, and the Glenfiddich Award.

Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid's diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics.

Kurlansky will be part of the Food Panel discussion at the Albany Book Festival at the University at Albany on September 29th from 11 a.m. to noon in the Campus Center Ballroom.  

After traveling across three continents to stalk the modern story of butter, award-winning food writer and former pastry chef Elaine Khosrova tells a story as rich, textured, and culturally relevant as butter itself. Her new book is Butter: A Rich History.

From its humble agrarian origins to its present-day artisanal glory, butter has a fascinating story to tell, and Khosrova is the perfect person to tell it. With tales about the ancient butter bogs of Ireland, the pleasure dairies of France, and the sacred butter sculptures of Tibet, Khosrova details butter’s role in history, politics, economics, nutrition, and even spirituality and art.

Today we look at a fascinating piece of food history and talk about the history of cake. Alysa Levene looks at cakes both ancient and modern, from the fruit cake to the pound cake, from the birthday cake to the angel food cake. All the way up to competitive baking shows on television and our modern obsession with macaroons and cupcakes. Alysa Levene is the author of Cake: A Slice of History and joins us today on the roundtable.