Via Alan Schussman (it’s great when your RAs have blogs) comes an interesting review by Steven Shapin of Camembert: A National Myth by Pierre Boisard. The book shows how there’s rather more—and rather less—to the famous cheese than meets the eye and nose. Unlikely though it may seem, Camembert’s development mirrors the evolution of the French state.

A friend of mine once raised a skeptical eyebrow, and smirked a bit, when I told him about that there was a fascinating subfield on the sociology of food. But one only has to think of the place of food in all parts of life, from daily routine to key events like weddings and wakes, to see how rich a topic it is. My only contribution so far to the field is a 45 second talk occasionally delivered to Americans explaining that Irish people do not, in fact, eat corned beef and cabbage.