There is nothing more basic than food. Food is the biggest of the essentials of life, our biggest industry, our most frequently indulged pleasure, and perhaps the greatest cause of disease and death. Despite its importance, food is often taken for granted, especially by academics, who have long considered food matters to be too coarse for scholarly attention.
From Warren Belasco’s introduction to his book Food: The Key Concepts, which I will be using as one of the core readings in the food policy course I am teaching next semester. The emphasis is mine.
Here is Belasco’s faculty profile at UMBC. He is also the editor of Food, Culture & Society, an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the new field of food studies, which Belasco essentially founded. And here is his Amazon author page; he has written two more food studies book.
Finally, here is Belasco himself (his remarks start at the 3:05 mark) discussing the history of food: