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Comprehensive book set on food and nutrition through history

graphic

"The Cambridge World History of Food" (2-volume set), edited by Kenneth Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas; Cambridge University Press, $175 U.S. ($150 U.S. as of April 1, 2001)

(CNN) -- With two 1,000-page volumes full of encyclopedic-like entries on all things gastronomic, "The Cambridge World History of Food" represents a sweeping look at eating habits and food attitudes dating all the way back the Paleolithic era. But prehistoric palates aren't the only subjects printed in this essay-filled resource. Dictionary and biography listings help chart food and drink histories -- along with policy and health issues -- up to modern day.

Want to know what makes Italian olive oil extra virgin? "The Cambridge World History of Food" says true extra virgin must come from the first pressing of the olives, have an acidity level of less than one percent and perfect flavor. And the book's section on "The Dog as Human Food" describes canine cooking as a relatively new Asian practice, calling its origins and reasons "speculative."

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