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academic profile - eminent professor ken albala


Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California and Chair of the Food Studies MA program in San Francisco. He is the author or editor of 24 books on food including academic monographs, encyclopedias, handbooks, cookbooks and popular food histories. He was co-editor of the journal Food, Culture and Society, and now edits Rowman and Littlefield Studies in Food and Gastronomy.


  • PhD, Columbia University (1993)
  • M.A., Yale University (1987)
  • B.A. George Washington University (1986)

Areas of expertise

  • History of Food and Nutrition
  • Culinary History
  • Early Modern Europe

List of research publications


  • Albala, K. (2014). Nuts: A global history. London: Reaktion Books.
  • Albala, K. (2013). Grow food, cook food, share food: Perspectives on eating from the past and a preliminary agenda for the future. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press.
  • Albala, K., & Henderson, R. N. (2012). The lost arts of hearth and home: The happy Luddite's guide to domestic self-sufficiency. New York: Penguin.
  • Albala, K. (2012). Three world cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Chinese. Maryland: AltaMira Press.
  • Albala, K. (2008). Pancake: A global history. London: Reaktion Books.
  • Albala, K., & Henderson, R. N. (2010). The lost art of real cooking: Rediscovering the pleasures of traditional food one recipe at a time. New York: Penguin.
  • Albala, K. (2007). The banquet: Dining in the great courts of late Renaissance Europe. USA: University of Illinois Press.
  • Albala, K. (2007). Beans: A history. Oxford: Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Albala, K. (2006) Cooking in Europe: 1250-1650. Westport: Greenwood Press.
  • Cox, C. & Albala, K. (2005). Opening up North America, 1497-1800. New York: Chelsea House.
  • Albala, K. (2003). Food in early modern Europe. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.
  • Albala, K. (2002). Eating right in the Renaissance. Berkeley: University

Book chapters

  • Albala, K., & Cooperman, L. (2016). Beams and bones: Exposure and concealment of raw ingredients, structure and processing techniques in two sister arts - Cuisine and architecture. In S. L. Martin-McAuliffe (Ed.), Food and Architecture: At The Table: Bloomsbury.
  • Albala, K. (2015). Experiential research in culinary history: Reconstructing 16th Century techniques. In J.-P. Williot (Ed.), Du feu originel aux nouvelles cuissons: Pratiques, techniques, rôles sociaux (pp. 105-112): Peter Lang - International Academic Publishers.
  • Albala, K. (2015). Stimulants and intoxicants in Europe, 1500-1700. In C. Helstosky (Ed.), Routledge History of Food (pp. 42-60). Oxford, UK: Routledge.
  • Albala, K. (2012). Cookbooks as historical documents. In J. M. Pilcher (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Food History (pp. 227-240). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Albala, K. (2011). The historical models of food and power in European courts of the Nineteenth Century: An expository essay and prologue. In D. De Vooght (Ed.), Royal Taste: Food, Power and Status at the European Courts after 1789 (pp. 13-30). Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing.
  • Albala, K. (2011). The ideology of fasting in the Reformation Era. In K. Albala & T. Eden (Eds.), Food and Faith in Christian Culture (pp. 41-58). New York, USA: Columbia University Press.
  • Albala, K. (2010). Cooking as research methodology: Experiments in Renaissance cuisine. In J. Fitzpatrick (Ed.), Renaissance Food from Rabelais to Shakespeare: Culinary Readings and Culinary Histories (pp. 73-88). Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing.
  • Albala, K. (2008). Ludovicus Nonnius and the elegance of fish. In P. Janssens & S. Zieschka (Eds.), La noblesse à table: Des ducs de Bourgogne aux rois des Belges/The dining nobility: From the Burgundian dukes to the Belgian royalty (pp. 38-42). Brussels: VUB Press.
  • Albala, K. (2007). Food and feast as propaganda in late Renaissance Italy. In D. Kirkby & T. Luckins (Eds), Dining on Turtles (pp. 33-45). UK: Springer.
  • Albala, K. (2005). To your health: Wine as food and medicine in the 16th Century. In M. Holt (Ed.), Alcohol: A Social and Cultural History. Oxford, UK: Berg Publishing.
  • Albala, K. (2005). Weight loss in the age of reason. In C.E. Forth & A. Carden-Coyne (Eds), Cultures of the Abdomen (pp. 169-183). USA: Springer.
  • Albala, K. (1998). Fish in Renaissance dietary theory. In H. Walker (Ed), Fish: Food from the Waters (pp. 9-19). Devon: Prospect Books.

Journal articles

  • Albala, K. (2016). La cuisinière canadienne. How Canadians Communicate VI: Food Promotion, Consumption, and Controversy. Edmonton: AU Press.
  • Albala, K. (2014). Toward a historical dialectic of culinary styles. Historical Research, 87(238), 581-590.
  • Albala, K. (2012). Food for healing: Convalescent cookery in the early modern era. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 43(2), 323-328.
  • Albala, K. (2011). The demise of the family meal. A covert survey of food scholars. Appetite, 56(2), 517.
  • Albala, K. (2010). The Tomato Queen of San Joaquin. Gastronomica, 10(2), 55-63.
  • Albala, K. (2009). Almonds along the Silk Road: the exchange and adaptation of ideas from West to East. Petits Propos Culinaires, 88, 17-32.
  • Albala, K. (2009). History on the plate: The current state of food history. Historically Speaking, 10(5), 6-8.
  • Albala, K. (2007). The use and abuse of chocolate in 17th Century medical theory. Food and Foodways, 15(1-2), 53-74.
  • Albala, K. (2006). Poliphilo's dream of divine feeding (Francesco Colonna). The College English Association Critic, 69(1-2), 77-85.
  • Albala, K. (2002). Insensible perspiration and oily vegetable humor: An Eighteenth-Century controversy over vegetarianism. Gastronomica, 2(3), 29-36.

Edited Volumes

  • Albala, K. (Ed.). (2016) At the table: Food and family around the world. Santa Barbara: Greenwood/ABC-CLIO.
  • Albala, K. (Ed.). (2015) Sage Encyclopedia of Food Issues. 3 volumes. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Albala, K. (Ed.). (2014) Food history: A primary source reader. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Albala, K. (Ed.). (2014) From famine to fast food: Nutrition, diet and concepts of health around the world. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
  • Freedman, P., Chaplin, J. & Albala, K.,(2014) Food in time and place: The American Historical Association companion to food history. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Albala, K. (Ed.). (2012) A cultural history of food in the Renaissance. F. Parasecoli & P. Scholliers (Series Eds.) London: Bloomsbury.
  • Albala, K. (Ed.). (2012) Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies. Oxford: Routledge.
  • Albala, K (Ed.). (2011) Food cultures of the world encyclopedia. Four volumes. Santa Barbara: Greenwood/ABC-CLIO.
  • Albala, K. & Eden T. (2011) Food and faith in the Christian tradition. USA: Columbia University Press.
  • Albala, K. & Allen, G. (Eds.). (2008) Human cuisine. USA: Thyestian/Booksurge.
  • Albala, K. & Allen, G. (Eds.). (2007) The business of food: Encyclopedia of the food and drink industries. With Gary Allen. Westport: Greenwood.

Teaching responsibilities

History Department, University of the Pacific (1994 – present)
Courses: Renaissance and Reformation, Tudor and Stuart England, The Spanish Empire, History of Modern Ideas, Food and Culture in the West, Western Civilization I & II, Mentor I (Freshman Seminar), A History of Medicine, Peace and Conflict in Western Thought (Honors), A Global History of Food, What is Good Food? (Pacific Seminar II), Historical Imagination, Alcohol and Intoxicants Through History

Boston University Graduate Program in Gastronomy

Culture and Cuisine: Italy, Summer 2005 and 2009
A Global History of Food, Online 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015. A History of Distilled Spirits, 2014.

The Great Courses
Food: A Cultural Culinary History. 36 Episode Series on DVD. 2013.

Research grants

  • 2014 – Pacific Fund Grant.
  • 2007-2010, 2010-2013 – Distinguished Scholarly Activity Grant (University of the Pacific).
  • 2006, 2015 – Long Foundation Grant (for pedagogical innovation).
  • 2005 – Linda D. Russo Grant. The Culinary Trust IACP.
  • 2003, 2005, 2009 – Eberhardt Research Grants (University of the Pacific).
  • 1998 – New York Council on the Humanities Grant – “You Are What You Read” Exhibit NY Academy of Medicine.
  • 1998, 2001 – Faculty Research Grants (University of the Pacific).
  • 2003 – International Association of Culinary Professionals Martini and Rossi Scholarship.
  • 1997 – Committee for Academic Planning and Development Travel Grant.

Academic/professional awards

  • Cuisine Book in the World, 2013
  • Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Chinese - Best Foreign
  • Horning Visiting Scholar, Oregon State University, 2011 5
  • Faye and Alex G. Spanos Distinguished Teaching Award – College of the Pacific, 2009
  • Cordon d’Or Award in Culinary History/Literature for Beans: A History
  • International Association of Culinary Professionals 2008 Jane Grigson Award for Beans: A History
  • Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, Pacific Chapter, 2007
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society – Inducted Spring 2003
  • Phi Beta Kappa – Inducted 1986

Professional memberships

  • Renaissance Society of America
  • Association for the Study of Food and Society (Board Member 2005-15) Current ASFS Fellow
  • International Association of Culinary Professionals (Food History Chair, 2008-10); CCP (Certified
  • Culinary Professional exam passed April 2013)
  • Culinary Historians of Northern California
  • Slow Food Lodi/San Joaquin, Program Co-Chair
  • James Beard Foundation