Sweetness and Power book cover
John M. Watanabe, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology

One of my all-time favorite anthropology reads is Sidney Mintz's Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History

Mintz tells the story of how sugar went from a rare luxury to a staple good during the course of the industrial revolution. The books spans four centuries and extends from the origins and workings of sugar plantations in the Caribbean to shifts in patterns of work and eating as people had to adjust to machine-driven work schedules during the nineteenth century. Some of the middle chapters may have more economic and political history than people might want to digest, but the last chapter, "Eating and Being," makes it all worth it.  You'll never eat "fast food" or take a "coffee break" in the same way ever again!