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The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson

The Oxford Companion to Food

Part of the Oxford Companions Series

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. One of the most comprehensive food encyclopedias of all time, Davidson’s original edition was twenty years in the making and won the author an Erasmus Prize for his contribution to European culture as well as an award for the Best Culinary History Book in the World. Much has changed since its first publication in 1999, and this third edition includes more changes than the previous revision. Davidson’s original writing has been retained, but 250 entries have been updated to include new developments, and there are over forty completely new entries. The book is a repository of wisdom on all aspects of food, its history and the techniques and skills associated with its preparation, and remains a truly magnificent reference book.


The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson

the best food reference work ever to appear in the English language it and be dazzled' Bee Wilson, New Statesman First published in 1999, the ground-breaking Oxford Companion to Food was an immediate success and won prizes and accolades around the world. Its blend of serious food history, culinary expertise, and entertaining serendipity, was and remains unique. Interest in food, cooking, and the culture surrounding food has grown enormously in the intervening period, as has the study of food and food history. University departments, international societies, and academic journals have sprung up dedicated to exploring the meaning of food in the daily lives of people around the world, alongside an ever-increasing number of articles, books, programmes, and websites in the general media devoted to the discussion of food, making the Oxford Companion to Food more relevant than ever. Already a food writing classic, this Companion combines an exhaustive catalogue of foods, be they biscuits named after battles, divas or revolutionaries; body parts (from nose to tail, toe to cerebellum); or breads from the steppes of Asia or the well-built ovens of the Mediterranean; with a richly allusive commentary on the culture of food, expressed in literature and cookery books, or as dishes peculiar to a country or community. While building on the Companion's existing strengths, Tom Jaine has taken the opportunity to update the text and alert readers to new perspectives in food studies. There is new coverage of attitudes to food consumption, production and perception, such as food and genetics, food and sociology, and obesity. New entries include terms such as convenience foods, drugs and food, Ethiopia, leftovers, medicine and food, pasta, and many more. There are also new entries on important personalities who are of special significance within the world of food, among them Clarence Birdseye, Henri Nestle, and Louis Pasteur. In its new edition the Companion maintains its place as the foremost food reference resource for study and home use.


Packed with fascinating facts and random information. * Chocablog * It is a book that no serious foodie should be without... * Helen Peacocke, Oxford Times * in 'The Oxford Companion to Food

'm detecting a certain dry humour as well which makes it very enjoyable to read. * Hayley Anderton, Shiny New Books * Whether looking up a particular article, reading articles out loud on a rainy afternoon ... or opening a random page to see where it will take me, the guide entertains and educates. Its a great addition to the bookshelf and my first destination for food-related information. * Caroline von Schmalensee, Edinburgh Foodie * The greatest food reference book in existence, The Oxford Companion to Food, is back for a third edition, wonderfully edited as ever by Tom Jaine. From aardvark to zwieback (a German rusk), this delectable, elegant and learned tome has it all. Despite 43 new entries, as well as 250 amendments and alterations, the wit, erudition and eclecticism of Alan Davidson's original masterpiece remain. * Tom Parker Bowles, Mail on Sunday * The Companion remains an erudite and essential volume for anyone seriously interested in food. * Times Literary Supplement * Stern discipline has to be exercised when using The Oxford Companion to Food for reference purposes. A clear warning should be printed at the beginning advising those who consult it that whole mornings can easily be frittered away, as the reading of an entry relevant to one's topic of research leads facinatingly to a chain of others, not quite so pertinent ... The Companion remains an erudite and essential volume for anyone seriously interested in food. * Lizzie Collingham, The Times Literary Supplement * There's nothing else like it. It's an encyclopaedia of food that manages to be both erudite and witty and utterly engrossing. I can't stop reading it. If you haven't come across this book yet, you're missing out. * Delicious Magazine * The wondrousness of this reference book ... cannot be overstated * Olive Magazine * Widely regarded as the best food reference book in the world. * Tom Shingler, Great British Food * funny and illuminating in equal measure * The Taster * Open any page and luxuriate in Davidsons wisdom and wit * Best books of the year 2014, Guardian * The formost food reference resource * Cake Craft and Decoration * every food lover should have a copy * Christopher Hirst, Book of the Year 2014, Independent * Every chef should have this immensely interesting reference tome * Daily Express * bought up to date for a new generation of food lovers. * The Countryman *'

About the Author

AUTHOR Alan Davidson was a distinguished author and publisher, and one of the world's best-known writers on fish and fish cookery. In 1975 he retired early from the diplomatic service - after serving in, among other places, Washington, Egypt, Tunisia, and Laos, where he was British Ambassador - to pursue a fruitful second career as a food historian and food writer extraordinaire. Among his popular books are North Atlantic Seafood and Mediterrranean Seafood. In 2003, shortly before his death, he was awarded the Erasmus Prize for his contribution to European culture. EDITOR Tom Jaine is an independent writer and publisher, specializing in food and food history. He is the author of numerous books, including Cooking in the Country, Making Bread at Home, and Traditional Country House Cooking. He frequently writes for The Times, The Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph, the Evening Standard, and many magazines and journals. He was editor of The Good Food Guide from 1989 to 1994, has presented 'The Food Programme' on Radio 4, and has participated in discussions of food on radio and television.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st August 2014


Alan Davidson

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Oxford University Press


960 pages


Cookery / food & drink etc
Food manufacturing & related industries



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