The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities, and Meaning of Table Manners
Margaret Visser

A delightful survey that covers even the Eucharist, which she calls "a dinner at which table manners are entirely necessary."

* * *

A History of Food
Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, translated by Anthea Bell

Pick a food, any food, look it up, wolf down the information, and have lots of fun impressing friends at your next dinner party. This is the one indispensable book about the history of food.

* * *

Whitebread Protestants: Food and Religion in American Culture
Daniel Sack

The real communion at my church took place at the potluck in the basement. Food brought us together in the fellowship hall as much as preaching did in the sanctuary. This book explains why.

* * *

The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times
Tristram Stuart

Vegetarians might serve plain food, but their ideas are out of this world—literally. This book tells the fascinating story of the quest for a utopian diet.

* * *

Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting, and the Discovery of the New World
Brian Fagan

How Christian ritual led to the practice of eating fish on Fridays, which in turn led to European dominance of the sea and even the discovery of the New World.

* * *

Related Elsewhere:

Good Eating is available from and other retailers.

Previous Top 5 lists have featured books on Atheism, China, Presidents, World Christianity, Ancient-Future Faith, the Civil Rights Era, Social Justice, Church History, Popular Culture, the Civil War, Apologetics, Atheism, and Sex.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.