Food Preferences and Aversions


Oct 23-30, 1983

Organized by

Marvin Harris and Eric B. Ross


Cedar Cove Conference Center, Cedar Key, Florida


Food and Evolution:Toward a Theory of Human Food Habits (M. Harris and E.B. Ross, Eds.) Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1987.


  • H. Leon Abrams University of Georgia, USA
  • George Armelagos University of Massachusetts, USA
  • Jane Buikstra Northwestern University, USA
  • Mark N. Cohen State University of New York, Plattsburgh, USA
  • Marc Edelman Columbia University, USA
  • Richard Franke Montclair State College, USA
  • Kenneth R. Good University of Florida, USA
  • Jack Goody University of Cambridge, UK
  • Daniel Gross City University of New York, Hunter College, USA
  • William J. Hamilton University of California, Davis, USA
  • David Harris University of London, UK
  • Marvin Harris University of Florida, USA
  • Kristen Hawkes University of Utah, USA
  • Allen Johnson University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  • Solomon H. Katz University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Leslie Sue Lieberman University of Florida, USA
  • Shirley Lindenbaum New School for Social Research, USA
  • Katharine Milton University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • K.N. Nair Center for Development Studies, India
  • Carolyn Nickens University of Florida, USA
  • Benjamin Orlove University of California, Davis, USA
  • Peter Pellett University of Massachusetts, USA
  • Gretel Pelto University of Connecticut, USA
  • Anna Roosevelt Museum of the American Indian, USA
  • Eric B. Ross, University of Florida, USA
  • Paul Rozin University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Gary Shapiro Florida State Museum, USA
  • Bruce Winterhalder University of North Carolina, USA
  • David Yesner University of Southern Maine, USA
  • Adrienne Zihlman University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

ORGANIZER’S STATEMENT: Food and Evolution draws on the latest evi­dence from the fields of primatology, biological anthropology, archaeology, nutrition, psychol­ogy, agricultural economics, and cultural an­thropology to explain why humans eat what they eat.

Food and Evolution is an unprecedented inter-disciplinary effort to develop a much needed theoretical understanding of the ori­gins of human food habits and of the wide cul­tural differences in contemporary human food preferences and avoidances. The essays, writ­ten by some of the world’s leading experts on human foodways, share a common commit­ment to an evolutionary perspective and to the view that human foodways have been estab­lished over time by biological and cultural se­lection LT1 relation to the costs and benefits of alternative food habits.

This book explores the interrelationships between food habits and physical, social, politi­cal, and economic aspects of human life, rang­ing in time from prehistory to the present, and from the most simple societies to the most complex, including South American Indian groups, African hunter-gatherers, and coun­tries such as India, Bangladesh, Peru, and Mexico.

Several essays explore the problems caused in developing countries by the introduction of modem technologies and novel foods and ex­plain the relationship between such changes and scarcity and malnutrition among the poorer inhabitants.  Food and Evolution covers these issues and lays the bsis for the development of a general theory of human food habits, a theory that is urgently needed to orient the collection of bio-psycho-cultural data surrounding human food consumption and to guide ongoing attempts to deal with the multiple forms of human malnutrition.

Wenner-Gren Symposium #94

Standing: K.N.Nair, P. Pellett, B. Orlove, J. Goody, M. Edelman, C. Nickens, R. Franke, A. Johnson, W. Hamilton, G. Pelto, J. Buikstra, M. Harris, K. Milton, G. Armelagos, A. Zihlman, E. Ross, S. Katz, M. Cohen, L. Lieberman, P. Rozin, N. Watson, D. Harris Kneeling: A. Roosevelt, G. Shapiro, K. Hawkes, B. Winterhalder, H. Abrams, M. Jonides, L. Osmundsen Not Pictured: D. Yesner, K.R.Good, S. Lindenbaum