Maritime musician Spalding’s first book provides details of the preservation, preparation, and consumption of food at sea throughout time and as technology progressed. Subjects covered include the ancient and medieval periods, the age of exploration, navies, merchant trade, immigrant and slave ships, steam power, the effects of canned foods on sea travel, ocean liners, refrigeration, and such 'new' technologies as submarines, cruise ships, and containerization. The author covers much ground and every corner of the globe yet never ceases to be intimate, identifiable, and fascinating, nor slows his clip. Much of which is owed to the perfectly apportioned breakdown within chapters, the perfectly concise text, and most of all, by the lovely accoutrements—the menus, recipes, charts, illustrations, poems, quotes, and ration lists. Never have so many reference sources been so palatably presented. VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the effects of food on human history.
— Library Journal, Starred Review
Spalding, a scholar and sailor who has worked and cooked at sea, posits in the introduction to this academic work on how food was prepared on ships from the Viking age to the Titanic. The slender volume manages to cover the entirety of human history at sea. Spalding’s tone is dry, but readers hungry for eccentric facts about cooking and eating in the ocean may delight in its specificities: a chart detailing rations of pork and beans and bully beef during the Civil War, the Gala Dinner Menu from aboard the S.S. United States (Foie Gras in aspic, Kangaroo Tail soup), and how canned salmon came to replace salt cod with the advent of canning. The book’s standout section, however, is the chapter devoted to immigrant and slave ships, which describes meals given to slaves in the Middle Passage, opening up a larger discussion of conditions and life on these ships. Immigrant families were forced to share a stove, each family expected 'to prepare its own food.' The book concludes with several as sample recipes throughout time B&W Photo.
— Publishers Weekly
Food in the Air and Space and Food at Sea, the second and third titles in Ken Albala’s 'Food on the Go' series, trace the surprising, sometimes humorous, histories of food prepared for long-distance air, space, and ocean voyages. Foss and Spalding both bring unique perspectives to these works. Foss is a culinary historian whose areas of expertise are beverages and the history of immigrant contributions to California cuisine, while Spalding is a consultant for historic programs, a maritime historian, and a musician. Each well-researched book follows a chronological sequence that clearly shows how the food prepared and served on watercraft, aircraft, and spacecraft developed in conjunction with the vehicles themselves, as well as the advancement of nutrition studies, technology, military science, and the tourism industry. . . .Food at Sea includes a section of authentic shipboard recipes from ancient times to WW II that one could make at home. Both books contain some photos, but it would have helped the reader enormously to view photos of the actual foods discussed in the chapters. See also Jeri Quinzio's Food on the Rails. Summing Up: Recommended. General, undergraduate, and professional culinary history collections.
— Choice Reviews
North Carolina-based writer and marine historian Simon Spalding, who has sailed in schooners, brigs and aboard the Polish sail-training ship Zawisza Czarny, has combined a love of the sea and food and come up with the story of food that has been served aboard everything from ancient sailing ships to present-day warships. He has used research from dives on wrecks, archaeology, and other sources to detail how meals were prepared, what was eaten at sea, and all the implements, tables and other means used to fuel the body. . . . The book is full of yummy tidbits on marine history. Sailors will find the book very palatable. Bon Appetit.
— Ontario Sailor Magazine
The author's biography describes him as 'a maritime historian, . . .writer, lecturer, teacher, and performer. . .[who] created educational programs for museums' and crewed on a number of sailing vessels. He brings this experiential and public history sensibility to Food At Sea. . . . Organized roughly chronologically, this work is an accessible survey of food and feeding aboard ships from ancient times to the twenty-first century. . . . Spalding offers approximately thirty recipes and explanations for the foods he discusses. . . . This is a fun, useful, and accessible survey of seaborne food and foodways, and a welcome addition to the history of cookery overall.
— Sea History
Simon Spalding charts the history of sea-board catering from the longboat to the cruise liner and the container ship. However unappetizing the fare, Food at Sea serves up a long awaited lobscouse, rich in detail, impeccably researched and intelligently presented.
— John Keay, historian and author of The Spice Route: A History, Author of The Honourable Company: a History of the English East India Company
This wide-ranging book tackles a significant question in the history of food: How to feed a large group of human beings who are away from dry land, sometimes for months at a time? In this examination of how the problem has been solved over the centuries, we learn that the Spanish Armada was defeated in part because of spoiled provisions, that a quarter pound of tea in the British Navy was treated as equivalent in nutritional value to a pound of cheese, and that until modern refrigeration, cattle and pigs were kept on the decks of passenger ships. Spalding offers a treasury of intriguing facts, stories and ditties connected to food at sea.
— Jordan Sand, professor of history, Georgetown University
From the cookboxes of ancient voyagers to the 24 hour buffets of today's cruise ships, Simon Spalding takes his readers on an epic culinary journey in Food at Sea:Shipboard Cuisine From Ancient to Modern Times. Here, readers can feast on accounts of biscuits seething with weevils, servings of Cape Cod Turkey (codfish), and sumptuous eleven-course dinners on the Titanic. Amply seasoned with sea music, poetry, and recipes, this book is a must-read for maritime enthusiasts and adventurous "foodies."
— Anna Gibson Holloway, PhD, Vice President, Museum Collections & Programs, Curator, USS Monitor Center
Simon Spalding’s Food at Sea romps through maritime history from the gruel of the ancient mariner to the smorgasbord of today’s cruise ship. Along the way, Spalding uncovers the culinary secrets of underwater archaeological wrecks; the onboard fare of slaves, sailors, officers, immigrants, and the well-to-do; the effects of Prohibition on American liners; the food on board naval vessels from early Mediterranean galleys to nuclear submarines; scurvy and other culinary diseases; The Love Boat (remember the series?), and even the origins of the phrase, “cup o’ Joe.” It is packed with detail, poetry, and fascinating vignettes. It is well researched, well documented, fast paced, and very entertaining – perfect for food historians or anyone interested in a delightful read.
— Andrew F. Smith, culinary historian
The Authors’ engaging text has created an entertaining and scholarly introduction to life at sea. This book should be at home in all libraries; from universities to cruise ships. Learn about, and learn how to make, “Lobscouse”, Burgoo”, Plum Duff”, “Dandyfunk”, “Spotted Dog”, “Collops”, and wash them down with “Grog”, “Kai” or a “Cup of Joe”.
— Craig Lukezic, President of the Archaeological Society of Delaware; adjunct professor, Delaware State University
The story of food at sea is far more complex than the smorgasbords provided by modern cruise ships. Granted, people often take cruises for the nonstop eating possibilities and for the great variety of foods they can try. Yet the true story of food at sea is a narrative about the design, development of ships, and evolution of ships from row galleys to cruise and container ships, and how these vessels spread the culinary traditions of the world. Simon Spalding’s Food at Sea reminds us that of our modern gastronomic customs—and modern preferences for food such as salsa, biscotti, curry, or even lamb—derive in part from ships and the sea.
— Gene Allen Smith, professor of history at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas; author of a number of books on naval and maritime history
A scintillating smorgasbord of seafaring fare over the centuries from the Odyssey to the Titanic, featuring mouth-watering if at times stomach-churning briny titbits for old salt and land-lubber alike. Simon Spalding is delectably versed in dietary arcana from galley slaves to submarine divers, poop deck to engine room. Cast-iron literary digestion is a gastric must for the author's recipes of lobscouse, dandyfunk, bilge rat, and boiled baby, washed down or thrown up with jungle juice.
— David Lowenthal, Boston College
A unique book that concerns long duree, from earliest period of shipping until recent, design of ships and boats and the ways those changes in design made for different eating habits aboard those ships. I would recommend it for anyone interested in the history of food aboard ships.
— Ruthi Gertwagen, University of Haifa - Israel
In his book Food at Sea: Shipboard Cuisine from Ancient to Modern Times, Simon Spalding serves up in gratifying fashion an authoritative answer to one of the most often asked question about life aboard ships – What did they eat? He gives insight not only to the food itself, but the industry, technology and cultural developments behind the availability and choices of sea fare as they changed both ashore and in the maritime trades. Further, he traces the thread of seafaring traditions in those choices. Through wooden ships to steel ones and from salted fish and meat to the convenience of refrigeration, sailors still look for the “bread barge” to sate that gnawing hunger when on watch in the middle of the night. Full of information for the curious, this book is a must read for any maritime re-enactor, living historian or anyone interpreting a maritime site.
— Michael J. DeCarlo, Esq., is a member of the naval living-history organization Ship’s Company, Inc., and portrays the Ship’s Cook on board the USS Constellation in Baltimore, Maryland, the last remaining U.S. Civil War era all-sail sloop-of-war
Throughout history, everyone who ever set sail on a long voyage faced the problem of how to feed passengers and crew. They approached that problem with every food preservation and cooking technique at their disposal, and developed ingenious preparations in the process. Simon Spalding has written a book like no other, the first comprehensive examination of the ways that the ancient Greeks in their oared galleys and Polynesians in outrigger canoes survived on the unknown oceans, the diet of Henry VIII’s sailors facing the French, and the routines of modern cruise ship and naval chefs who cater thousands of meals on a daily basis. Though some parts of this story are less than appetizing - nobody will envy the meals of a crewman in Nelson’s navy - this book is an absorbing read and recommended to anyone with an interest in nautical or culinary history.
— Richard Foss, culinary historian and author
For those who have read almost all about shipbuilding, sea-battles, and navigation, now is the time to learn more about one of the most important things onboard supertankers, Viking ships, steamers, and submarines – the food. Simon Spalding take us to the seven seas and through more than a thousand years of dry food, salt food, and bad food, as well as all the improvements to keep the crew alive, and happy, on Men-of-War, East Indiamen, steamers, and submarines. It is a “must have” for everyone interested in the shipping history.
— Hans-Lennart Ohlsson, director, Swedish Maritime Museum