I quibbled with myself a lot about what to rate this, but I finally came down in the middle because there were a lot of bits I found enjoyable and informative, even when there were a lot of others that didn't really work for me.The problem is that the book is quite uneven. The earlier parts, particularly when he talks about ingredients, read like lists upon lists--it didn't really work as a narrative, but it also didn't function as a reference because of the lack of consistency in the information (one entry might have a history of the item, one a legend, and only one of the three information on what it actually was and tasted like). I also felt like there were other gaps in the research, and while the plates from era food manuals were interesting, the book could have used more visual information, particularly when talking about things that would have been unfamiliar to the modern reader.The book also made intermittent cultural assumptions that I found somewhat uncomfortable--it assumed not only a modern American audience, but also one from a limited cultural background. Now I'm sure that the bulk of the audience for the book was that, but using terms like "we" and "us" were alienating, and making presumptions about what the reader would and would not find "revolting" and "disgusting" was culturally insensitive (the admonishment that most of the world would disagree just served to reinforce the feeling of "us" and "them" and just who was a member of the "us").That said, there was a lot of interesting information packed in here. I was particularly interested in the information on food and religion (and wished there had been more of it, but perhaps that's a topic I should seek another book on). The book covers a lot of years and a lot of territory, so it was never intended to be an exhaustive resource, but it does well when it marries the food information to the historical background, the wheres and whys and hows of cuisine during this era.