Designed for audiences from middle school to adult, this new encyclopedia introduces the reader to key issues surrounding food and nutrition. Many of the 224 entries describe the staple foods and drinks that historically have supported mankind. Others describe the cultural practices that surround the preparation and serving of food, from cooking methods and utensils to holiday feasts and religious beliefs. From Europe and Africa to China and Mexico, the distinctions of regional cuisines also are explored. Much attention is given to the business of growing, marketing and distributing foodstuffs, as well as regulating its preservation and safety for consumption. Other health issues are examined in articles on allergies, eating disorders, mineral deficiencies and malnutrition. The biological functions of food are explained in discussions of its chemical components, digestion, taste and growth. Particular emphasis is given to problems of weight control. Hundreds of full-color illustrations provide an attractive resource for the more youthful reader, while selective bibliographies support more advanced research. The final volume provides substantial amounts of data on nutritional values of foodstuffs, as well as food production and nutritional health around the globe. The result is a guide that is highly recommended for school and public libraries.