Advance praise for Moveable Feasts
Tim Zagat, co-creator and
publisher of the Zagat Survey guides
"In this hugely enjoyable book, you'll get a completely new look at history - through the perspective of food and its amazing journeys around the globe. I've read more than my fair share of books about food and this one really stands out for being well researched and highly entertaining."
Alan Burdick, author of Out of Eden:
An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion:
"What a great book! Deliciously captivating; a true culinary adventure."
Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist:
Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor - and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car!
"The journeys food makes before reaching our plates are more amazing than you might think. Sarah Murray's enthralling account ranges from Ancient Rome's olive oil trade to the Pentagon's foodless nutrition patches, and it is both carefully and colorfully reported. Consume with relish."
Tom Standage: author of
A History of the World in 6 Glasses:
"Sarah Murray's book ranges across time and space to unearth some striking examples of the unseen voyages that food takes from farm to plate. If you want to know about the military origins of canned food, the extraordinary logistics of Mumbai's tiffin system, or how bananas shaped the politics of Central America, she has the answers. Her book also poses some cogent questions about the logic of the current mania for local food."
Margaret Visser, author of Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary Meal
"Sarah Murray's fascinating book, based on wide reading and personal experience, reveals how the apparently simple and practical aim of storing and transporting food has changed politics, history, and even art in profound and unexpected ways. It is an eye-opener and a page-turner."
Reviews for the UK edition
"This bright, energetic and fact-packed book reveals that food miles are by no means an invention of modern times . Murray reminds us that we cannot do without some food miles. Like the Romans, we are just unwilling to eat our salads undressed."
"Sarah Murray has an engagingly oblique way into a story, and leads us perkily through food history and politics with journalistic flair and an eye for a memorable anecdote . [Murray] is also good at highlighting contemporary controversies over culinary geographies, from the role of food miles in global warming to uneven access to food and the use of cheap Asian labour. She argues for a broader approach to food miles: one that takes into account the energy spent on food processing and the efficiency of transportation alongside sheer distance. In other words, you can forget about taking your car to the farm shop."
The Sunday Times:
"As Sarah Murray argues in her brilliantly researched book, food miles are centuries old. What she calls 'moveable feasts' have been a feature of world trade, from the spices transported on the ancient Silk Road to the canned foods that fuelled Napoleon's navy."
"Many of the food journeys recounted by Murray are grotesquely convoluted. There are the BBQ ribs Fedexed from Memphis to Wall Street traders; the Norwegian salmon that is frozen, shipped to China where it is defrosted and filleted, only to be refrozen and shipped back to Europe. Yet for all this, she bravely offers a defence of the clocking up of "food miles".
The Daily Telegraph:
Sarah Murray "proceeds with pragmatic level-headedness to investigate man's ingenuity in sending produce on long journeys".
"Local producers delivering organic food to supermarkets may actually be less carbon-friendly in the long run than transporting 'French beans' from Kenya. The maths is complicated, and Murray intelligently shows that, taste aside, the ethics may not be quite as simple as we thought."
The New Statesman:
"Murray argues that the trend for equating the distance travelled by food with damage to the environment does not provide an accurate picture of its carbon footprint . And bearing in mind our appetites, it is unrealistic to think that food transportation can simply be abolished."
"Sarah Murray explores both modes of transport and the journeys made by food on its way to the dinner table. As she points out, the concept of shipping food round the world is not a new one. A 2,000-year-old food jar found recently is thought to have held fish paste believed to have been shipped from Spain to Carlisle in northern England for Roman officers."
"The author has drawn together a number of colourful and informative anecdotes about the way food travels, its social and political effects. Ever wondered why so many people order tomato juice or a Bloody Mary while flying? You will find an explanation here."
"The author is a journalist with the Financial Times examining the topical issue of food miles in both a historical and contemporary context. This is well-researched and somewhat contentious and should generate media and hence reader interest."