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.
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