I am most interested in the history of the senses. Our need and desire for sensual satisfaction has greatly impacted world history. Could who we are as a culture solely be due to the senses? I think the impact of sensual desire is often overlooked when examining culture and history.
One book that I find most intersting on this subject is Schivelbusch's Tastes of Paradise. From the preface, "This book deals not only with the history of Genussmittel - the spices, stimulants, and other substances ingested or inhaled by humans to produce a pleasurable effect - but more importantly with the question: In what say did these substances affect the history of man?" Just a quick note - I would change that last word to "humankind".
A comprehensive review of Tastes of Paradise by David Denborough. I found the review at the Dulwich Centre. Link here.
More books by Schivelbusch that I would like to read.