The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking

Book - 2007
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A fascinating history of how Britain learned to cook, from prehistory to the modern age.

Written with a storyteller's flair and packed with astonishing facts, Taste is a sumptuous social history of Britain told through the development of its cooking. It encompasses royal feasts and street food, the skinning of eels and the making of strawberry jelly, mixing tales of culinary stars with those of the invisible hordes cooking in kitchens across the land. Beginning before Roman times, the book journeys through the ingredients, equipment, kitchens, feasts, fads, and famines of the British; it covers the piquancy of Norman cuisine, the influx of undreamed-of spices and new foods from the East and the New World, the Tudor pumpkin pie that journeyed with the founding fathers to become America's national dish, the austerity of rationing during World War II, and the birth of convenience foods and take-away, right up to the age of Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal, and Jamie Oliver. The first trade book to tell the story of British cooking--which is, of course, the history that led up to American colonial cooking as well-- Taste shows that kitchens are not only places of steam, oil, and sweat, but of politics, invention, cultural exchange, commerce, conflict, and play.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2007.
ISBN: 9781596914100
Characteristics: xvi, 460 p., [24] p. of plates :,ill. (some col.) ;,25 cm.


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Jan 16, 2017

Taste is packed with information and historical references, a fairly academic work, and a great volume on food & history. British history and culture form a backdrop to detailed culinary information, and historical and social changes going back as far as the Roman occupation. Taste has a lengthy notes section, an extensive bibliography and index. I still needed the internet to look up less common terms. I usually devour books in a day, but this volume is so richly packed with lovely detail my reading slowed so that I didn't miss a thing. I'll likely read it a second time and then add it to my personal library. If you enjoy this book, Founding Foodies (on the early US presidents) is a lighter amuse-bouche historical food read.

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