In this major new history of English food, Clarissa Dickson Wright takes the reader on a journey from the time of the Second Crusade and the feasts of medieval kings to the cuisine - both good and bad - of the present day.
She looks at the shifting influences on the national diet as new ideas and ingredients have arrived, and as immigrant communities have made their contribution to the life of the country. She evokes lost worlds of open fires and ice houses, of constant pickling and preserving, and of manchet loaves and curly-coated pigs. And she tells the stories of the chefs, cookery book writers, gourmets, and gluttons who have shaped public taste, from the salad-loving Catherine of Aragon to the foodies of today.
Above all, she gives a vivid sense of what it was like to sit down to the meals of previous ages, whether an 18th-century labourer's breakfast or a 12-course Victorian banquet or a lunch out during the Second World War. Insightful and entertaining by turns, this is a magnificent tour of nearly 1,000 years of English cuisine, peppered with surprises and seasoned with Clarissa Dickson Wright's characteristic wit.
"one of the most entertaining and fascinating audiobooks that I have ever heard." (
Christina Hardyment, The Times)
"A rambling socio-gastronomic history leavened with humour and eccentricity." ( Sunday Telegraph)
“deliciously rich and moreish” ( Independent on Sunday )
"From the medieval larder stocked with rabbit and eggs to modern cuisine, Clarissa Dickson Wright combines her two great passions of food and history to trace the development of the English diet over the centuries." ( Scottish Sunday Express)
"Surely destined for classic status" ( Independent)
"Make no bones about it, this is an amazing book…. It’s a book that compels you to constantly read aloud tidbits to whoever is unlucky enough to be in the same room." ( BBC Countryfile magazine)
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