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Essential Food History Books

**Note: These are just some of my personal favorites and what I have used them for in my work (or even if I just enjoyed the hell out of them!). I make no money if you decide to click over to to have a look. 

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Hands down the best reference book on foodstuffs (I have the section on Dairy permanently bookmarked so I can get to it faster). 

If this book doesn't have it, you don't need to know! 

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Shocking. Astonishing. Awful. Uplifting. 

I cherish the history in this book and the way it is told - unflinching, yet in a way that makes you feel that you are sitting with the author as he interviews his subjects and researches the amazing and difficult history of Civil Rights and Southern food. 


Oh, come on, with a title like that, how can this book not be fun? 

The Drunken Botanist brings together fun facts, weird anecdotes and plenty of recipes and gardening tips for anyone who is a fan of any of those things! 


Meticulously researched and full of information on all facets of Norse paganism and magic ritual. Fascinating stuff!

The second volume contains and absolutely indispensable collection of reference materials that Tolley uses in his work on Volume I, for anyone who wants to dive into the original material. 

Shamanism in Norse Myth and Magic by Clive Tolley
(2 volumes)


This is a great reference and examination of women and female figures in Norse myth. 

Each chapter examines female deities as they are connected to 5 subcategories:

  • Animals

  • Grain

  • Distaff and Loom

  • Life and Death

  • The Household

Roles of the Northern Goddess by Hilda Ellis Davidson


This book is written as if it is a conversation with an old friend - one who is at the forefront of knowledge in her field. I fell in love with this book's easy style, which is very different from some writing you come across in academia. In fact, I patterned the introductory chapter of my own thesis on the opening of this book.

Women in Old Norse Society by Jenny M. Jochens


William Ian Miller is a bit of a controversial figure in Scandinavian Studies. A law professor by trade, some take umbrage at his interpretations of Saga Age Iceland. One thing is certain: No one writes like Miller. 

He is especially good at untangling complex and abstract issues in the sagas, such as feud, and interpreting what they mean for individuals and society. 


There's a big debate going on in Scandinavian studies since the mid-20th century: To what extent does Iceland owe the oral tradition for its thriving manuscript culture of the medieval period? Where do they meet? And what does it matter, anyway? 

Gísli knows the answers. 


It's now an "older" tome by academic standards, but it is tried and true and the granddaddy of all knowledge about Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and how it reflects and intersects with medieval society. 

This is one of the books that I have on my "Start your research right here" list. 

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