Consuming passions: Being an Historic Inquiry into Certain English Appetites

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9780241019450: Consuming passions: Being an Historic Inquiry into Certain English Appetites

What have the ancient Romans with their orgies, the primitive Christians with their fasts and their guilt to do with the English traditions of food? Why are oysters and celery believed to be aphrodisiacs? How is eating connected to sexual desire? In this history of the English appetite, Philippa Pullar answers these questions in an amusing manner. She draws such apparently unconnected subjects as phallic worship, cannibalism, agriculture, wet-nursing, prostitution, witchcraft, magic and aphrodisiacs into a fascinating synthesis. Starting with the Romans, she charts the development of the art of cooking, drawing surprising parallels between eating habits, religion and sexual mores. She guides us through the kitchens and dining rooms of such noted gourmets as Heliogabalus, Vittelius, Dr. Johnson and Sydney Smith, into the pubs of Pepys and Lord Rochester and into the bedrooms with Frank Harris. Finally she illustrates her theme by providing recipes for long-forgotten dishes.

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From the Publisher:

In this age of convenience food, one may look back on the past with envy. The luxury of the Romans, for whom eating and sex (often conducted simultaneously) allayed life’s boredom; the sumptuous variety of the Middle Ages; the glittering dining tables of wealthy Victorians and Edwardians: was their cuisine really better, or simply more self–indulgent? In Consuming Passions, Philippa Pullar gives us an absorbing and often hilarious history of English appetite. From Roman orgies to Puritanism, from the great class divide of the 19th century to the egalitarian seventies, she explores English eating habits in all their diversity, demonstrating the surprising parallels between food, religion, and sex. Originally published in 1970, Consuming Passions now features a new afterword by acclaimed food writer Paul Levy, bringing the story right up to the 21st century. New Afterword by Paul Levy.

About the Author:

Philippa Pullar was born in London in 1935. She received a Cordon Bleu Certificate of Cookery and was a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society. She also wrote an acclaimed biography of FRANK HARRIS to be published in Penguin Classic Biography in August 2001.

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Pullar, Philippa
Published by Hamish Hamilton Ltd (1971)
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