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Rachel Laudan

Food Historian and Writer

Rachel Laudan is a historian. Uncovering the ways in which the past shapes the present has been her driving interest from her childhood on an English farm dating back to the Neolithic, through her training as a geologist and academic career as a historian of science and technology, and to her current research into food history. Her award-winning book, Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History (University of California Press, 2013), examines the links between food preparation and cultural and economic development.

This historical background underpinned Laudan’s much-reprinted article “A Plea for Culinary Modernism: Why We Should Love Fast, Modern, Processed Food.” She is happy to plunge into debates on food politics on social media and at meetings across the balkanized food world at SXSW, the James Beard Foundation, the Southern Foodways Alliance, the Institute of Food Technologists, food and agriculture organizations, universities, and the Dublin Gastronomy Symposium.

Laudan’s career has given her the rare opportunity to live on five continents. She and her philosopher husband have now come to roost in Austin, Texas, where she is happily exploring a fascinating state, walking her dog, making use of the great university library, and blogging on food at

By Rachel Laudan: