Food: A Very Short Introduction
Drawing on a mixture of science and history, Professor Lord John Krebs's Very Short Introduction looks at the development of food and the four great transitions that affected the way we eat. From issues such as the obesity crisis and sustainable agriculture to food scares and the role of new technologies, Krebs provides a fascinating exploration of the history of human food.
Download this VSI Reading Guide as an Adobe PDF (28 KB)
Questions for Thought and Discussion
- Whose responsibility is it to tackle the problem of obesity – individuals? Governments? The food industry? Schools and parents?
- Do you think genetically modified foods are a good or a bad idea? Why?
- Is organic food better for you? Is it better for the environment?
- What would you think constitutes a healthy diet?
- Would it be better for the environment if we were all vegetarians?
- How much should you worry about pesticide residues on your food?
- Why do people differ so much in the kinds of food they like and dislike?
- If you were advising your government on the future of agriculture in your country, what would be your top three priorities?
- How important is our upbringing in determining our food preferences?
- Whose job is it to ensure food is safe? How safe is safe enough?
- What can evolution tell us about the food habits of humans?
- Is it easier to lose weight by dieting or exercising?
- Do you think that eating certain foods can help prevent you getting cancer or suffering from heart disease? How do you know?
- What do you think is the most important innovation in the history of human food?
- What is your favourite dish? Can you explain why in terms of its flavor, appearance and texture?
- David A Kessler, The end of overeating (Penguin, 2009) A former head of the US Food and Drug Administration’s view of the obesity crisis and the food industry.
- Calestous Juma, The New Harvest: Agricultural innovation in Africa (Oxford University Press, 2011) A distinguished Kenyan born academic gives an upbeat view of how Africa can increase its food production by harnessing modern technology.
- Marion Nestle, Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (California Studies in Food & Culture: 2007) An interesting polemic on the role of the food industry.
- Jeffrey Steingarten, The man who ate everything (Alfred A Knopf Inc.: 1997) and It must’ve been something I ate (Alfred A Knopf Inc.: 2002) A witty and informed food writer’s collected essays, some of which are very memorable.