From the points of view of epistemology (theories of knowledge and method) and general zeitgeist (spirit of a particular time), there have been many influences over the years on the study of food. The following list is merely a sample of recent trends:

• The French Annales school of history, especially in the 1960s and 1970s through the work of Fernand Braudel, who was interested in all aspects of ‘material life’ (Forster and Ranum 1979).