Imagine this book had been not about brands, but about food.

It is clear that the foods eaten around the world do relate to local customs and traditions. And these in turn draw upon the patterns of life in different societies, the climate and terrain, agriculture, the degree of urbanization, religious and other cultural factors. And there is also the sheer weight of historical precedent and the momentum of the habits that come from what people grew up eating. So that even if food differences are quite contingent, they can still be persistent.

It would also be clear that food is changing. We have new ways of cooking. We understand ...

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