Earthly Delights

Economies and Cultures of Food in Ottoman and Danubian Europe, c. 1500-1900


Volume Editors: and
Earthly Delights brings together a number of substantial and original scholarly studies by international scholars currently working on the history of food in the Ottoman Empire and East-Central Europe. It offers new empirical research, as well as surveys of the state of scholarship in this discipline, with special emphasis on influences, continuities and discontinuities in the culinary cultures of the Ottoman Porte, the Balkans and East-Central Europe between the 17th and 19th centuries. Some contributions address economic aspects of food provision, the development and trans-national circulation of individual dishes, and the role of merchants, diplomats and travellers in the transmission of culinary trends. Others examine the role of food in the construction of national and regional identities in contact zones where local traditions merged or clashed with imperial (Ottoman, Habsburg) and West-European influences.

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Angela Jianu, Ph.D. (2004, University of York, UK), has taught modern European history at the Universities of Warwick and Oxford. She is the author of A Circle of Friends: Romanian Revolutionaries and Political Exile, 1840-1859 (Brill, 2011).

Violeta Barbu, Ph.D. (1997, 2008, University of Bucharest), was Professor of Religious Anthropology and Senior Research Fellow at the “Nicolae Iorga” Institute of History in Bucharest. She has published widely on the early modern history of Romania and is the editor of Documenta Romaniae Historica (1998-2017, 11 vols.).
"Angela Jianu and the late Violeta Barbu have brought together a wide variety of articles on the history of food in the post-medieval period up to the eve of the First World War. Divided into five distinct parts (on “Flavours, Tastes and Culinary Exchanges,” “Ingredients and Kitchen,” “Cities,” “Cooking” and “Representations,”) it offers detailed empirical investigations as well as new scholarship."

Cathie Carmichael, in Acta Slavica Iaponica (2021)

"Overall, Earthly Delights presents an intriguing and critically important collection of studies. The volume is well organized [... ] Earthly Delights is an essential read for any historian of food, especially a historian focusing on the seventeenth century and later periods.'

Karel Černý, in Hungarian Historical Review

"While anthropologists and ethnographers have developed a “taste” for research on social and cultural dimensions of food long time ago, history of food is a relatively new domain for historians. [...] In sum, this work is a valuable contribution to the study of food and the formation of regional and national identities through material culture, symbolic rituals, stratified consumption, and cultural representations. It provides a contextual look at redefining the notion of prosperity through social attachments to food. Furthermore, the book contributes to de-centering the research on west European cuisine. By offering such transnational readings to a variety of social contexts involving shared cuisine, the authors promote not only academic dialogue, but also address social interconnectedness in a novel way and suggest new venues for research."

Evguenia Davidova in the Slavic Review 2019, pp 821-822

“Earthly Delights may be considered the first in-depth volume on the topic, gathering important contributions on culinary practices, types of food, cookbooks, attitudes to nutrition, and regional patterns of influence in southeastern Europe”.

Laurenţiu Rădvan, University of Iaşi, in: Studii şi Materiale de Istorie Medie (2018)
The volume is addressed to historians of food, as well as to the general reader interested in the interactions of culinary cultures in the Ottoman Empire, the Balkans and East-Central Europe.
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