The Virtues of the Table

Julian Baggini

Published: 1 January 2015
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 320 pages
ISBN: 9781847087157

About the author

Image of Julian Baggini

Julian Baggini is the founder of The Philosophers' Magazine. His books include Do You Think What You Think You Think? (with Jeremy Stangroom), What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life, the best-selling The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten, The Ego Trick and The Virtues of the Table, all published by Granta Books. He has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, as well as for the think tanks The Institute of Public Policy Research, Demos and Counterpoint. He has also appeared as a character in two Alexander McCall-Smith novels. His latest book, Freedom Regained, was published by Granta Books in 2015. His website is: More about the author


‘[Baggini is] a serious thinker and a fluent writer... This book might cause you to look again at some of the choices you make about what to eat, and how you go about eating it’ Erica Wagner



‘[Baggini's] most appealing book yet... an enlightening work of practical philosophy very much grounded in the real world’

‘A great success’ Tom Payne

‘A thought-provoking and entertaining foray into food’

‘Baggini brilliantly picks apart the contradictions and inherent hypocrisies of the 'new food orthodoxies'.... Even-handed to the last’ Roger Lewis

‘Baggini expertly dismantles self-congratulatory assumptions about the evils of large industry and chain restaurants or the superiority of organic food and local eating’ Steven Poole

‘Baggini's The Virtues of the Table is a virtuoso feast for the mind and soul. A lively, thought provoking read. Bite-sized but filling, this delightful volume is sure to satisfy the philosopher and foodie in us all’ Francine Segan, author

‘Each chapter ends with a mouth-watering description, not strictly a recipe, of how to prepare a wholesome treat. A book that stimulates mind and palate’ Tom Moriarty

‘Eating and thinking, both vital. If one goes down, the other will restore. A wonderful book’ Fergus Henderson

‘Engaging and cleverly illustrated... A beguiling mix of insights from philosophy, psychology and sociology’ Cain Todd

‘Enlightening and provocative’

‘Entertaining [and] thought-provoking’

‘Excellent. By examining the virtues of all aspects of food, a very broad approach, the author cuts through all the myths, confusion and lazy thinking with a precision and humour that enables the reader to think and eat better. If you care about what you eat then you need to buy this book’ Charlie Hicks, presenter of Radio 4’s Veg Talk

‘He combines scrupulous argument with fastidious respect for common sense’

‘In this book, Baggini serves up a refreshingly new approach to the often familiar and pressing issues behind the food we eat. It is surprisingly free from dogma, imploring us to be virtuous rather than rigid in our food choices. It charts one man's journey through the moral maize of gastronomy with compelling and mouth-wateringly informative prose. A must-read for thinking food lovers everywhere’ Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive Compassion in World Farming

‘Julian Baggini has that rare but wonderful gift of being able to be at once profound and highly entertaining. This remarkable book combines the pleasures of the table with those of philosophy, and once again this most engaging of philosophers has achieved a perfect balance. Marvellous’ Alexander McCall Smith

‘Julian dances through the complex ethical dilemmas around food. With a practical and deeply human philosophy, his razor-sharp intellect brings clarity to our daily lunchtime choices. In a challenging and inspirational tour of allotments, supermarkets and dinner tables, Baggini puts philosophy into our reach: The Virtues of the Table could sit happily alongside the recipe books in everyone's kitchen’ Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International

‘Never dry or over-academic, leavening reason with wit. Several writers have attempted philosophies of food. This philosopher does a better job and with more humour’ Tim Hayward 'Books of the Year'

‘Raymond Aron told Jean-Paul Sartre that according to his philosophy, Sartre ought to be able to philosophise about a cocktail. Yet Sartre never quite managed to say anything very illuminating about drink or food. Julian Baggini has triumphed where Sartre failed: he has written brilliantly about food and drink in all their cultural, scientific and philosophical complexity. Written in Baggini's typically limpid and effortlessly readable style, The Virtues of the Table is a wonderful book -- full of wisdom, information and (in a particularly nice touch) a well-chosen recipe for each chapter. Anyone who has ever thought about the meaning and significance of what we eat and drink will want to devour this book’ Tim Crane, Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

‘There's plenty to agree and disagree with in this book but if you are interested in why the subject of food makes us feel so strongly, then this is a great’

‘This is interesting stuff and shows Baggini at his best, drawing from a glorious range of sources to produce engaging thought’ Alex Renton

‘Thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking’

‘Well-argued with bags of humorous reflections, ethical dilemmas and astute observations and will make you see your food choices in a new light’ Julia Richardson

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