Food in Early Modern England: Phases, Fads, Fashions, 1500-1760

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9781852855383: Food in Early Modern England: Phases, Fads, Fashions, 1500-1760
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What did ordinary people eat and drink five hundred years ago?  How much did they talk about food?  Did their eating habits change much?  Our knowledge is mostly superficial on such commonplace routines, but this book digs deep and finds surprising answers to these questions.  We learn that food fads and fashions resembled those of our own day.  Commercial, scientific and intellectual movements were closely entwined with changing attitudes and dealings about food.  In short, food holds a mirror to a lively world of cultural change stretching from the Renaissance to the industrial Revolution.  This book also strongly challenges the assumption that ordinary folk ate dull and monotonous meals.

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About the Author:

Joan Thirsk is the UK's leading historian of agriculture. She is the author of Alternative Agriculture: A History.

Review:

"Joan Thirsk, known as one of Britain's finest agricultural historians, has here focused on Food in Early Modern England. Sit back, dip in and enjoy these feasts of evidence and story-telling." (Jules Pretty Times Higher Education Supplement)

"Every page of this book evinces Thirsk's love of the subject. She aims to bring us closer to the daily experience of cooks and diners in this period, and she marshals not only the knowledge of a long and distinguished career as an agricultural historian but also a lifetime's experience as a cook to do this.Everyone serious about food should read this wonderful book, for inspiration no less than enjoyment. It is thanks to books like this that we can expand our own range." (Ben Wilson The Spectator)

"compelling" " a serious meticulously researched work of social history. It is precisely the scholarly yet approachable kind of book that has long been Joan Thirk's stock-in-trade." "appealingly straightforwad" "she has crafted a comprehensive, elegantly written account of our nation's culinary history." (Jonathan Wright)

jacket illustration mentioned in the church times. (Church Times)

"...rich in detail and painstaking in the search for data from all levels of society. It makes instructive reading for foodies." (Felipe Fernández-Armesto, University of Notre Dame The American Spectator)

"a wealth of knowledge of agricultural history and farming regions underpins this book." "The author has made good use of a wide range of evidence." "a skillful blend of the food choices of individuals and broad changes in the history of England's food in the Early Modern period. Thirsk remarks in her introduction that her task could better have been tackled by ten people but I doubt whether a committee of ten would have produced such a readable book." Malcolm Thick, Petits Propos Culinaires, 83, July 2007. (Malcolm Thick)

"Agriculture historian Joan Thirsk presents Food in Early and Modern England: Phases, Fads, Fashions 1500-1760, a close scrutiny at the dietary and culinary practices of ordinary people of England five hundred years ago, from the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution. Chapters explore how people of the era talked about the food, what caused changes in eating habits, past food fads and fashions, and how attitudes toward food mirrored cultural changes. Delving deep into printed primary sources for information, Food in Early Modern England discusses how war heightened the importance of the renewed search for food in times of war, how patterns of commerce as well as regional and social patterns affected diets, the role of different specific staples such as bread, meat from farm animals and rabbits, dairy foods, vegetables and herbs, and much more. "Mustard is said to have been used before pepper was imported, and since it thrives to this day, it can be said to have one of the longest recorded histories of any flavouring in England." A welcome and thorough addition to culinary and cultural history."- Internet Bookwatch (Internet Bookwatch)

"[the book] reaches well beyond what the title suggests... into a from-the-heart examination lessons to be learned from the agricultural practices of our ancestors" (Literary Review)

"Thirsk brings her training as an agricultural historian to bear in her study of food in early modern England. The volume, arranged chronologically with chapters on food traditions from 1500 to 1760, explores regional and social patterns of diet and includes a chapter on individual foods. The author's close reading of published accounts relating to food and health provides surprising insights...Though some of the diet and health advice cited in Thirsk's volume now seems odd, such as particular foods to keep the four humors of blood, flume, choler, and melancholy in balance, treaties such as Dr. Theophilus Lobb's Advice to the Poor with Regard to Diet (1763) are surprisingly modern, with its emphasis on eating grains, pulses, vegetables with a little meat, and avoiding excessive consumption of strong liquor. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries." -T. J. Bond, CHOICE, Vol. 45, No. 5, January 2008 (T. J. Bond)

"Thirsk's book, packed with food history, explores fads and fashions in eating and reminds us that eating together was once a crucial part of family and communal life." Reviewed in Unite.

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9780826442338: Food in Early Modern England: Phases, Fads, Fashions, 1500-1760

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