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Moveable Feasts: From Ancient Rome to the 21st Century, the Incredible Journeys of the Food We Eat


by Sarah Murray


Grapes eaten in Iowa may have been on a complicated voyage from Chile. The French beans we consume come from Kenya, flown thousands of miles in refrigerated containers to London. In Beijing or Shanghai people now enjoy Italian olive oil and Japanese noodles, Belgian chocolates and French cheese. The author shows that most of what we consume travels thousands of miles from its origins to the dinner table.
Shipping food across the world has challenged the ingenuity and technical expertise of engineers and inventors of the earliest times. Today, fish is frozen and sent on a ship to China where it is defrosted and filleted before being refrozen and sent back to America or Europe. These are the sort of voyages this book describes. It shows that the movement of food, often over vast distances, has for centuries been part of human life. It also shows the complex tradeoffs that emerge as we try to ensure that our food supply, which relies heavily on fossil fuels, is sustainable. The book is very well documented and readers will realise that the things we eat and drink are eminently moveable.
Philippe Horak; Switzerland (

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