What did Italians wear to ward off the evil eye? Any idea what the ancient Romans thought was a great cureall for all kinds of ailments? Or what food was worshipped by Native American tribes but feared by Hindus? The answers are, in order, garlic, cabbage, and beans.
For questions about the history of various foods or the cultural traditions and values that surround them, find answers in Nectar and Ambrosia: An Encyclopedia of Food in World Mythology. Covering just about any food you could think of, as well as many that you may not have thought of as food, i.e. insects, turtles and guinea pigs, this encyclopedia is a great resource for multicultural assignments in culinary arts, business, hospitality, and nursing.
Find it in the reference section: REF GR 498 .A53 2000. You also may wish to try the 3-vol. Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (REF GT 2850 .E53 2003) and the 2-vol. Cambridge World History of Food (REF TX 353 .C255 2000).