Skip to main content

About Ken Albala

Teaching Philosophy
I think the classroom should be fun and exciting and since I love telling stories, much of our time is spent doing just that, as well as discussing important events, individuals and long-term historical processes. We also read original sources and view contemporary images, learning how history is always a matter of interpretation. We learn to think critically about what historians have written about the past and how their ideas are shaped by their own interests and biases. The same body of evidence can be used to defend very diverse positions and rarely are there plain and straight-forward facts to be memorized. By getting our hands dirty with primary documents, we learn how to write history well, how to support an argument, and ultimately how to tell a good story. I also think that the skills one learns in my classes make students better researchers, thinkers and writers in whatever professions they decide to pursue. 

Scholarly Interest
Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific and Director of the Food Studies MA program in San Francisco. He has authored or edited 23 books on food including Eating Right in the RenaissanceFood in Early Modern EuropeCooking in Europe 1250-1650The Banquet, Beans (winner 2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award), Pancake, Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food and Nuts: A Global History. He was co-editor of the journal Food, Culture and Society and has also co-edited The Business of Food, Human CuisineFood and Faith and edited A Cultural History of Food: The Renaissance and The Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies. Albala was editor of the Food Cultures Around the World series, the 4-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia and the 3-volume Sage Encyclopedia of Food Issues published in 2015. He is also series editor of Rowman and Littlefield Studies in Food and Gastronomy for which wrote Three World Cuisines (winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards best foreign cuisine book in the world for 2012). He has also co-authored two cookbooks: The Lost Art of Real Cooking and The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home. His latest works are a Food History Reader and a translation of the 16th century Livre fort excellent de cuysine. His course Food: A Cultural Culinary History is available on DVD from the Great Courses. In the fall 2015 his At the Table: Food and Family Around the World will the published. He is now working on a book about noodle soups.


September 1994 - Present Professor of History, Chair of Food Studies, University of the Pacific College of the Pacific
2005 - 2015 Faculty Member, Boston University ‐ Graduate Program in Gastronomy

Curriculum Vitae


Enter a valid date range.

Professional Service and Affiliations

2015 - Present Board of Trustees Member, Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooking
2013 - Present Judge, James Beard Awards
2005 - Present ASFS Fellow, Association for the Study of Food and Society
2005 - 2015 Board Member, Association for the Study of Food and Society
2008 - 2010 Food History Chair, International Association of Culinary Professionals
Enter a valid date range.

Honors and Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa – Inducted 1986
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society – Inducted Spring 2003
  • Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, Pacific Chapter, 2007
  • International Association of Culinary Professionals 2008 Jane Grigson Award for Beans: A History
  • Cordon d’Or Award in Culinary History/Literature for Beans: A History
  • Faye and Alex G. Spanos Distinguished Teaching Award – College of the Pacific, 2009
  • Horning Visiting Scholar, Oregon State University, 2011
  • Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Chinese - Best Foreign Cuisine Book in the World, 2013
  • Eminent Professor, William Angliss Institute, Melbourne, Australia


  • PACS 002 Pacific Seminar II "What is Good Food?"
  • HIST 010 Western Civilization I
  • HIST 011 Western Civilization II
  • HIST 060 A History of Medicine
  • HIST 061 A Global History of Food
  • HIST 100 Renaissance and Reformation
  • HIST 101 Tudor and Stuart England
  • HIST 102 The Spanish Empire


1993 Ph.D., Columbia University
1987 M.A., Yale University
1986 B.A., George Washington University

Contact Information

Wendell Phillips Center 240
Phone: 209.946.2922


Books and Book Chapters (85)

Books and contributions to books written by Dr. Ken Albala.