More than a thousand years pass between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the discovery of America. In that long stretch of time, European food cultures at first very distant from one another begin to interact in ways that will come to transform all of them. With the circulation of men, products, words, and ideas, the continent forges a substantially unified identity. This volume takes the reader on a journey among ingredients, recipes, customs, and choices as we move in the company of kings and peasants, distinguished figures – noblemen, ambassadors, bishops, and popes – scientists and literati, cooks and artisans, and common men and women (a few, anyway). In other words, this is a journey that weaves its ways throughout the whole of society. Food – whether desired or denied, relished or rejected, global or local – is our key for understanding the slow road toward a unified European culture.