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Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

Butter, oil, tallow, lard, schmaltz—nutritionally crucial yet often villainized, at once rich yet cheap, fat is one of the most paradoxical categories of foods we consume. Shaping every cuisine on earth, fats in their various forms come with myriad cultural and symbolic meanings, playing an important role for a variety of people, from poor farmers to decadent aristocrats. Fats tells the story of this extraordinary substance—alternately reviled and revered but nonetheless always a crucial part of our diets.
Michelle Phillipov considers the changing fates and fortunes of fats across time and around the globe. From their past associations with prestige and social authority to their links to fast food and overindulgence in modern times, she explores the different meanings, debates, and controversies that have surrounded this staple food, which has been both an invaluable source of nutrition and the bane of public health concerns. She also looks to its current renaissance in media and popular culture and the renewed appreciation it enjoys as an important part of traditional foodways that stretch back all the way to prehistoric times, when the Paleo diet was even more popular than it is today. Dripping with recipes from around the world, Fats reveals and celebrates that one ingredient that makes everything taste better. 

136 pages | 37 color plates, 16 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2016


Food and Gastronomy

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“This densely packed, rich little book takes readers through time and history and across cultures to illustrate the importance and meaning of dietary fats. It blends just the right proportional ingredients of fact and science, with the human influence of dietary need and desire, to create a vivid, colorful picture of how fats have influenced food choices and defined the way in which understanding them guides decision making.”


Table of Contents

1. Power and Prestige: Fats in History
2. Fats around the World: Cooking with Fat
3. Nutritional Science Weighs In: The Changing Fate of Fats
4. Manufacturing Fats: Low-Fat, No-fat, Artificial Fat
5. Desire and Defilement: Fats in Popular Culture

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