At the First Table
Food and Social Identity in Early Modern Spain
University of Nebraska Press 2017
New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in FoodNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network January 29, 2019 Molly Taylor-Poleskey
Jodi Campbell is Professor of History at Texas Christian University. She has written extensively on Spanish drama, royal history and women’s history. Her first book was published by Ashgate in 2006 and is titled Monarchy, Political Culture and Drama in Seventeenth-Century Madrid: Theater of Negotiation. She also co-edited Women in Port: Gendering Communities, Economies, and Social Networks in Atlantic Port Cities, 1500-1800 (Brill, 2012). Dr. Campbell’s new book, At the First Table: Food and Social Identity in Early Modern Spain (University of Nebraska Press, 2017) focuses on food as a mechanism for the performance of social identity in early modern Spain.
According to Dr. Campbell, early modern Spaniards adhered to strict regulations about food consumption based on their place in the social hierarchy as well as defined categories of gender, age, occupation and religion. The particular foods one ate as well as how they ate them were part of a display of identity and collective belonging.
This enticingly-written book fills a need in food scholarship to understand Spanish customs in the broader context of early modern European food culture. Spain followed some of the general European trends for adopting New World foods, such as sugar, but its Jewish and Muslim roots inflected Spain with its own particular food heritage.
“A phenomenal book… beautifully written and organized, and meticulously researched with a broad range of primary and secondary sources. There is nothing like it in English.”–Ken Albala, professor of history and the director of the Food Studies Program at the University of the Pacific and the author of Food in Early Modern Europe.