Reactions to Meals Matter: A Radical Economics

Meals Matter

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Along with mesmerising descriptions of foodMeals Matter is a passionate and inspiring proposal for change. Symons’s suggestion that the “festal core” of democracy needs to be resurrected is certainly correct. Pleasure, in our culture, has come to be synonymous with stress relief rather than passion or joy.

Antonella Gambotto-Burke, The Weekend Australian (8-9 August 2020). More from her review

Meals Matter is compelling, original and sophisticated. The book would appeal to a scientific and lay audience seeking a deeper understanding of how society got to a point of extreme commodification of food, alienation from its sociocultural value, and the neglect of meals. As well as prompting readers to rethink the current system, it might inspire them to engage in shared gastronomic pleasure and community-based development as a path to a better world.

Editors, Nature Food, 19 May 2020. Full review here.

Michael Symons succeeds brilliantly in a radical project: convincing readers to rethink a singular ‘economics’ as multiple ‘economies’: bodily, household, market, political, and natural. His book draws on intellectual history, economic and social theories, and gastronomy, and it is richly illustrated with stories about meals.

Janet Flammang, author of The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics, and Civil Society

As an academic economist and former chef, this is a book I wish I had written. Symons’s work provides a unique contribution through its fusion of philosophy, economics, and food, arguing for the need to reject the acquisitive self-interest ethos of economics and instead return to a social-centric Epicurean philosophy. I for one would enjoy a seat at Symons’s table.

Ted P. Schmidt, author of The Political Economy of Food and Finance

Meals Matter is a passionate call to create a more convivial world by centering food and its consumption. It combines a powerful challenge to action with a well-documented contribution toward our understanding of the cultural and social significance of food and foodways.

Bertram M. Gordon, author of War Tourism: Second World War France from Defeat and Occupation to the Creation of Heritage

A clearly written and exciting reappraisal of the development of Western economic thinking and when and where it goes awry. Meals Matter offers an original argument about the relationship of food, money, and economics that has the potential to upend many orthodoxies.

David Sutton, author of Remembrance of Repasts: An Anthropology of Food and Memory

“The strength of Symons’ book is the conversational way he introduces the story of how political economy became “economy”.  Along the way, readers are not only introduced to familiar players like Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus and François  Quesnay, but lesser known players like Margaret Cavendish and  Jean-Baptiste Say.”

Ray Boisvert, Food Anthropology

How to purchase Meals Matter, here