What did ordinary people eat and drink five hundred years ago? How much did they talk about food? Did their eating habits change much? Our documents are mostly silent on such commonplace routines, but this book digs deep and finds surprising answers to these questions. Food fads and fashions resembled those of our own day. Commercial, scientific and intellectual movements were closely entwined with changing attitudes and dealings about food. In short, food holds a mirror to a lively world of cultural change stretching from the Renaissance to the industrial Revolution. This book also strongly challenges the notion that ordinary folk ate dull and monotonous meals.