Katie Rawson is director of learning innovation at the University of Pennsylvania. She writes on food history. Elliott Shore is professor emeritus of history at Bryn Mawr College. He has written on the history of restaurants, advertising, and German America.
A truly international survey of restaurant history. Flavorful and scintillating. --Paul Freedman, Chester D. Tripp Professor of History, Yale University Rawson and Shore offer a tantalizing trip through the history of eating out from the first restaurants up to today. We meet the restaurant as a place that bristles with innovation, as an institution that has fundamentally altered the ways in which food is prepared, served, and consumed, and one that has itself undergone profound social transformations--in the kitchen staff, the service personnel, and the diners. This lavishly illustrated book and its lively text makes the reader hungry for more. --Susan Pollock, professor, Freie Universitat Berlin, and professor emeritus, Harpur College, State University of New York at Binghamton This book is for the dedicated foodie, a comprehensive social history of eating out, from the bronze age to modern times. There's much to nibble on: for example, the word 'restaurant' was originally a popular restorative broth sold in France in the 1700s. By the 1780s it had morphed into what we now understand as a restaurant. There are about 150 photographs, about half in color, and the authors include interesting archival excerpts from journals, documents, and literature. --Sarah Murdoch Toronto Star As the world economy grew more complex and specialized, workers' enhanced mobility gave them time, money, and need to dine out. What sets Rawson and Shore's contribution apart from other histories of restaurant culture is their insight into not simply European restaurants, but their even more ancient Asian counterparts. Appearing in China in the twelfth century, restaurants developed at a time when Chinese cities held three times the population of European capitals. Expansion of trade routes meant that businesspeople ended workdays far from home, and travelers from Sichuan yearned for familiar food even in northern provinces. Japan inaugurated ritualized, sophisticated food service, and women waited tables long before Harvey Girls appeared on the American frontier. Today's foodies may be surprised to discover that farm-to-table cuisine appeared as early as nineteenth-century Manhattan, when Delmonico's started its own Brooklyn farm to supply fresh produce. America's burgeoning cities introduced an astonishing culinary range of ethnic foods, experimental chefs, and today's ubiquity of fast food. Ancient and modern illustrations and bibliographic notes supplement the text. --Booklist Unlike many books that delve into the history of restaurants and begin with France (or wayside taverns elsewhere), the academics who have written Dining Out, a compelling volume, start in the Bronze Age. Their definition of a restaurant is elastic, referring to places where strangers might have gathered to eat and drink, including the symposiums of ancient Greece. Long before social upheavals gave rise to the modern restaurant in France, there were what we would consider to be restaurants in twelfth-century China; the authors cite a traveler's memoir of a huge dumpling house with more than fifty ovens. (The influence of Chinese restaurants globally is significant.) The book discusses the economic and technological evolution of restaurants; restaurant service and hierarchy; tipping; the influence of transportation; sexism; chain restaurants; and food writing up to the present day. --Florence Fabricant New York Times