Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture by Marvin  Harris
289 pages, $31.95 list
eBook availability
Good to Eat
Riddles of Food and Culture
Why are human food habits so diverse? Why do Americans recoil at the thought of dog meat? Jews and Muslims, pork? Hindus, beef? Why do Asians abhor milk? In Good to Eat, best-selling author Marvin Harris leads readers on an informative detective adventure to solve the world’s major food puzzles. He explains the diversity of the world’s gastronomic customs, demonstrating that what appear at first glance to be irrational food tastes turn out really to have been shaped by practical, economic, or political necessity. In addition, his smart and spirited treatment sheds wisdom on such topics as why there has been an explosion in fast food, why history indicates that it’s “bad” to eat people but “good” to kill them, and why children universally reject spinach. Good to Eat is more than an intellectual adventure in food for thought. It is a highly readable, scientifically accurate, and fascinating work that demystifies the causes of myriad human cultural differences.
“My students liked the readings. There was not a lot of jargon for them to navigate. The chapters addressed profound topics in a very matter-of-fact way.” — Renee Gralewicz, University of Wisconsin, Fox Valley

“Very informative and well-researched. My students are enjoying the book and we are having excellent discussions on the material. It is very instrumental for teaching cultural relativism and cultural materialism.” — Jenna Strizzi, Roger Williams University

“Marvin Harris writes well and simply. He routinely puts a spin to his theory and data that makes good reading.” — Martha C. Ward, University of New Orleans

“Vintage Harris. A provocative, ever fascinating collection of essays. Harris asks interesting questions and provides thought-provoking answers.” — Stanley H. Brandes, University of California

“I give it my highest recommendation.” — David E. Jones, University of Central Florida

“This is Marvin Harris at his very best.” — Candelario Saenz, Wellesley College

“Harris is a model of clear, readable, organized, expository prose as well as a fine model of argumentation in the social sciences. This helps foster critical thinking.” — Manjari Chatterji, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

“A fascinating account of culinary taboos and passions in a variety of settings based on his ecological perspective.” — Kirstin Bell, University of Northern Colorado

“Marvin Harris’s books never fail to promote interest, curiosity, and creativity in my students. After they finish reading this book, their thinking, acting, and feeling are affected in a positive way.” — Mario Montano, Colorado College

“The writing style will surely encourage student interaction. The information and presentation should result in an energized class.” — Mark Tromans, Broward Community College
Table of Contents
1. Good to Think or Good to Eat?
2. Meat Hunger
3. The Riddle of the Sacred Cow
4. The Abominable Pig
5. Hippophagy
6. Holy Beef, U.S.A.
7. Lactophiles and Lactophobes: Milk Lovers and Milk Haters
8. Small Things
9. Dogs, Cats, Dingoes, and Other Pets
10. People Eating
11. Better to Eat