The last 20 years have seen a burgeoning of social scientific and historical research on food. The field has drawn in experts to investigate topics such as: the way globalisation affects the food supply; what cookery books can (and cannot) tell us; changing understandings of famine; the social meanings of meals - and many more. Now sufficiently extensive to require a critical overview, this is the first handbook of specially commissioned essays to provide a tour d'horizon of this broad range of topics and disciplines. The editors have enlisted eminent researchers across the social sciences to illustrate the debates, concepts and analytic approaches of this widely diverse and dynamic field. This volume will be essential reading, a ready-to-hand reference book surveying the state of the art for anyone involved in, and actively concerned about research on the social, political, economic, psychological, geographic and historical aspects of food. It will cater for all who need to be informed of research that has been done and that is being done.