Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Programme and registration

We are pleased to announce the programme for 'Devouring: Food, Drink and the Written Word, 1800-1945'. A pdf version is available here.

We hope that many of you will be able to join us for what promises to be a very stimulating day - the booking form, directions to the campus and other information can be found here.

Conference fees are £20 full, £15 for students, and £10 for University of Warwick staff and students.

Devouring: Food, Drink and the Written Word, 1800-1945

Saturday 8th March 2014

Humanities Building, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK
09.30 – 10.00am: Registration, tea and coffee (Ground floor corridor)
10.00 – 10.15am: Welcome and Introduction (H052)
Mary Addyman, Laura Wood and Christopher Yiannitsaros (University of Warwick)
10.15 – 11.15am: Keynote Address I (H052)
Dr. Margaret Beetham (University of Salford): Title TBC
11.15 - 11.30am: Tea and coffee break (Ground floor corridor)

11.30am - 12.50pm Session 1
Panel 1A – Regional, National and Culinary Identities (H058)
Lucy Dow (History, University College London), ‘Imagining the Nation in Early Nineteenth Century Printed Cookery Books’
Joanne Ella Parsons (English, Bath Spa University), ‘Surtees’ ‘Great Guzzling’ Gourmand: Eating, Hunting, and Making Merry in Handley Cross and Jorrocks’ Jaunts and Jollities’
Dr. Sam Goodman (English, Bournemouth University), '"Oh for the want of vegetable food!": Experiences of Hunger and Privation in Indian Mutiny Diaries'

Panel 1B - Aspirational Consumption (H060)
Lesley Steinitz (History, University of Cambridge), ‘The Tales They Told: The Creation of the Healthy Ideal Through Branded Food Advertising, 1890-1918’
Graham Harding (English, University of Cambridge), ‘“A change comes over the spirit of your vision”: Champagne in England, 1860-1944’
Dr. Corinna Peniston-Bird (History, University of Lancaster), ‘“Yes, We had no Bananas”: Sharing Memories of the Second World War’
12.50 – 1.50pm: Lunch (Ground floor corridor)
1.50 - 3.10pm: Session 2
Panel 2A – Interrogating Excess (H058)
Abigail Dennis (English, University of Toronto), ‘Reading About Good Dinners: The Ambivalent Gourmand in Thackeray’s Gustative Writing’
Dr. Jonathan Buckmaster (English, Royal Holloway, University of London), '''I’ll be content to eat my own head, Sir!": Grimwig, Grimaldi and Excessive Consumption in the Dickens Pantomime'
Dr. Charlotte Boyce (English, University of Portsmouth), ‘Onions and Honey, Roast Spiders and Chutney: Unusual Appetites and Idiosyncratic Eating Habits in Edward Lear’s Nonsense Verse’

Panel 2B – (Un)Satisfied Appetites (H060)
Dr. Angelica Michelis (English, Manchester Metropolitan University), ‘Feeding the Vampire: The Ravenous Hunger of the fin de siècle’
Dr. Lesa Scholl (English, University of Queensland), ‘The Rhetoric of Taste: Reform, Hunger and Consumption in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton’
Dr. Paul Vlitos (English, University of Surrey), ‘Supplying the Mob with the Food it Likes’: Taste, Appetite and the Literary Marketplace in George Gissing’s New Grub Street and Will Warburton’
3.10 - 3.25pm: Tea and Coffee Break (Ground floor corridor)
3.25 – 4.25pm: Session 3
Panel 3A – Digesting Social Reform (H058)
Dr. Annemarie McAllister (History, University of Central Lancashire), ‘Temperance Tropes: Sensation, Sentiment and Narrative Legacies’ 
Dr. Lucinda Matthews-Jones (History, Liverpool John Moores University), ‘Eating and Dining at Toynbee Hall, 1885-1914’

Panel 3B – Disrupting Domestic Femininities (H060)
Dr. Emanuela Ettorre (English, University of Chieti-Pescara), ‘Rewriting Women: Thomas Hardy, Food and the Menace of the Impure’
Janine Catalano (Independent Food and Art Historian), ‘An Unrefined Palette: Food, Class and Gender in the Work of Leonora Carrington’
4.25 - 4.40 Comfort break
4.40 - 5.40 Keynote Address II (H052)
Professor Nicola Humble (Roehampton University): Title TBC
5.40 – 5.50pm: Closing Remarks (H052)
5.50 - 6.30pm Drinks Reception (Graduate Space, 4th floor)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Mapp and Lucia and Lobsters

Recently, I’ve I’ve been lucky enough to find the time to delve in the zany, slightly psychotic world of E.F. Benson’s ‘Mapp and Lucia’ series of novels, which begins with Queen Lucia in 1920 and culminates with Trouble for Lucia in 1939. This reading has served duel purposes. In the first instance, it has been my bedtime reading, and laugh-out-loud bedtime reading at that. In the second, as I suspected from reading about Benson’s novels, some of the content has been very useful in terms of one of the chapters of my thesis which I have just finished re-drafting, and so I have been able to make reference to both Mapp and Lucia (1935) and Lucia’s Progress (also 1935) as part of establishing a ‘middlebrow’ literary context for the themes I later go onto discuss in Agatha Christie’s fiction.

Now, I’m not on the pay roll or anything, but... given the choice,
why would you ever buy anything 
other than the Vintage Classics
edition?! No, seriously, why?

For anyone unfamiliar with the overarching premise of the series, ‘Mapp and Lucia’ depicts the vicious social one-upmanship between the odious Miss Elizabeth Mapp and the detestable Mrs. Emmeline Lucas (Lucia). Elizabeth Mapp was the unchallenged social queen of the small, seaside town of Tilling. However, upon her arrival in the town, Lucia, aided by her gay best-friend, Georgie (who, incidentally, she ends up married to at the close of Lucia’s Progress. Are you serious, Benson?!), adroitly sets to work ending Mapp’s reign of terror, so that she may begin her own. Basically, its Mean Girls, but in 1930s England, and, for the record, we are definitely Team Mapp: Lucia is an abominable bitch (and not in the likable way)!

One of Mapp and Lucia’s most pivotal battles is over a recipe: Lobster à la Riseholme. Upon serving this dish to her friends (and Mapp, purely out of social obligation) at a luncheon party, the enigmatic gastronomical sensation, which derives its name from the Cotswold-eqsue village in which Lucia and Georgie used to live, becomes the talk of Tilling for the reason that ‘no one could conjecture how it was made’ (191). Flying in the face of social convention, Lucia simply refuses to disclose the recipe to anyone. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the dish soon becomes the pointiest of the many thorns in Mapp’s side: The dish...

... had long been an agonizing problem to Elizabeth. She had made an attempt at it herself, but the result was not encouraging. She has told Diva and the Padre that she felt sure she had ‘guessed it’, and, when bidden to come to lunch and partake of it, they had both anticipated a great treat. But [...] lobster à la Riseholme à la Mapp had been found to consist of something resembling lumps of india-rubber (so tough that the teeth positively bounced away from them on contact) swimming in a dubious pink gruel, and both of them left a great deal on their plates, concealed as far as possible under their knives and forks[.] (191)

After failing to charm the recipe out of Lucia’s cook (which was an act in vain anyway - it is Lucia herself who always finishes the dish), towards the climax of the novel Mapp sinks to a new low. Having gone out for a walk towards the river on a stormy Boxing Day afternoon, Mapp passes Lucia’s servants who are all on their merry way elsewhere for the afternoon. Thus realising that the kitchen at Grebe is, on this rare occasion, unattended, in a brilliant culinary metaphor on Benson’s part, the thought of sneaking into Lucia’s home and stealing the recipe ‘fructified into apples of Desire’ for Mapp (255). Having entered the kitchen via the back door, the recipe is not at all hard for Mapp to find: ‘There was a prayer book [...] bound in American cloth. [...] Rapidly she turned the leaves, and there manifest at last was the pearl of great price, lobster à la Riseholme. It began with the luscious words, “Take two hen lobsters.” (257) But, uh oh, this being the utterly dippy world of ‘Mapp and Lucia’ - a world in which, as Nicola Humble suggests, ‘the day-to-day minutiae of domestic detail [...] tip over into surrealism’ (60) - what do you think happens next?

[S]he heard with a sudden stoppage of her heart-beat, a step on the crisp path outside, and the handle of the kitchen-door turned. Elizabeth took one step sideways behind the gaudy [Christmas] tree and, peering through its branches, saw Lucia standing at the entrance. Lucia came straight towards her, not yet perceiving that there was a Boxing Day burglar in her own kitchen, and stood admiring her tree. Then with a startled exclamation she called out “Who’s that?” and Elizabeth knew that she was discovered. Further dodging behind the decorated fir would be both undignified and ineffectual, however skillful her foot-work. 

“It’s me, dear Lucia,” she said. “I came to thank you for that delicious pâté and to ask if-” 

From somewhere close outside there came a terrific roar and rush as of great water-floods released. Reunited for the moment by a startled curiosity, they ran together to the open door, and saw, already leaping across the road and over the hornbeam hedge, a solid wall of water. 

“The bank has given way,” cried Lucia. (258)

Yes! The frenemies are carried off to sea aboard the makeshift raft that is Lucia’s overturned kitchen table. Bon voyage, ladies.

Unfortunately, despite the genuinely mouthwatering descriptions of lobster à la Riseholme that we as the reader get within the novel, we, like the luckless Mapp, are never given an actual recipe. However, TimBris83 - a contributor to the online fan forum on - has taken it upon himself to recreate Lucia’s signature dish, much in the style our troubled but beloved domestic goddess, who has herself has displayed a penchant for creating recipes inspired by literary works. For instance, her ‘Mint Julip Peaches’ in Forever Summer (2002), are reported to have been inspired by her reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925). As TimBris83’s recipe seemed both easy and delicious (if pricey), I decided to give it a go, and document the results. The ingredients list is as follows:

Lobster (pref a hen)
4 shallots (very finely chopped)
3 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons marsala
150 ml double cream
2 teaspoons paprika
3 pinches of cayenne pepper
3 handfuls gruyere cheese (grated)
3 tablespoons tomato passata
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
oil or butter (for frying)

Obviously, this recipe calls for a live lobster, but in deference to the my-one-true-love Lawson (not to mention general wussiness) I decided to take the express route to deliciousness and get it pre-cooked and frozen at the supermarket. The crustacean still had to be prepared (i.e. - meat extracted from shell). On this front, I was expecting it to be worse to be honest, but thanks to this informative youtube tutorial, it was relatively easy (though outrageously messy). Seriously, I found it more of an ordeal to finely chop four shallots, which says a lot about my chopping competency.

Once all of the extracting, grating, chopping, and measuring had been done, the process was really very easy indeed. All I had to do was sauté the shallots over medium heat for about 10 minutes until they were soft and translucent. Then I heated the brandy in another small pan, set it alight with a long cooking match, let the flames die down and then poured the brandy over the softened shallots.  I then added the marsala - an ingredient I has certainly heard of, and vaguely knew was some sort of fortified wine, but had never used before - and let the mixture come to the boil.

Turning the flame onto low, the next step was to bung in the cream, paprika, cayenne, and pasata (not convinced of the authenticity of this, TimBris83, I’m sure Lucia would have had to skin and crush her own tomatoes - but thank God we don’t have to) and heated the mixture for a bit. Then time for the cheese: I added two handfuls of the gruyere I had grated earlier and whisked until smooth. Tasting at this point, I found the mixture a bit bland I have to say, so I threw in some pepper, along with a sprinkling of dried oregano and dried thyme, because, let’s be honest, what exactly isn’t improved with dried oregano and dried thyme. Tasting better now, the lobster meat was added in and warmed through.

Any recipe that suggests the measuring of cheese
in 'handfuls' is OK in my book.

Now, even for something conceived of as a nod to the almost bamboozling campery of ‘Mapp and Lucia’, I do feel that serving this in washed-out lobster shells is, dare I say, I tad too shi shi. As such, my vessel of choice for the final stage of the recipe - the grilling - was two small white gratin dishes. I divided the warm mixture between the two dishes, topped with the remaining handful of cheese, and placed under the preheated grill for a few minutes until the cheese was golden and crusty. Oh, and, although uncalled for by the recipe, I sprinkled the top with chopped parsley, because parsley is delicious and makes everything better (whereas coriander, on the other hand, is a plant that was placed on earth by Satan himself)!

The result: well, it looks lovely, doesn’t it, and it tasted perfectly fine. But that’s all I’m afraid. It’s very rich, very cheesy, but even with my additions, its certainly not packing a punch on the flavour side of things, which, for a recipe whose ingredients costs me - I sob to think - the same as what I get paid for a week’s worth of undergraduate teaching, I was expecting something really special. Probably, its a case of it being just too old fashioned, and not appealing to more modern taste-buds (TimBris83 does indeed admit that his take of Lucia’s dish loosely based on an Escoffier recipe). If I ever had some lobsters knocking about again, I would definitely go for something lighter, fresher, more zingy, more vibrant: something which enhances, rather than over-powers that special lobster flavour. All in all, a nice idea, but a lobster dish which has not stood the test of time quite as well as the quirky interwar novel in which it plays such a pivotal role.


Page references for Mapp and Lucia are to the current (2011) Vintage Classics edition of the novel.
The page reference for Nicola Humble’s comment on the novel is to The Feminine Middlebrow Novel, 1920s to 1950s: Class, Domesticity and Bohemianism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)
TimBris83’s original recipe for Lobster à la Riseholme can be found here.

Friday, 1 November 2013

CFP No more!

That's it folks. The call for papers has now passed. The three of us will be hard at work over the next few weeks, deliberating, and most probably bickering, as we try to sort through all of the fantastic abstracts we have received. We hope to be in touch with everyone who submitted an abstract in the very near future to let them know of our decisions.

Thank you once again to everyone who took the time to submit something to us. We are thrilled that our conference has resonated with the work of so many researchers across a number of different disciplines, and across the globe!

Mary, Laura and Chris

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Abstracts: One Week to Go

A big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has already submitted an abstract, and for all the other messages of support we have received so far. There is one more week to get your abstract in, folks. The deadline is Thursday 31st October 2013 (by 11:59pm, of course). 

More blog posts coming soon (Promise!).

Friday, 12 July 2013

Ingesting the collection

Today's post is about food and my particular research interest - collections. Sometimes inspiration comes from the strangest of places, and who'd have thought that an animated film about a band of misfit pirates would get me thinking about different ways we practice and experience collecting? But that's just what The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists did when I saw it at the cinema last year. The film, made by Aardman and based on the book by the very funny Gideon Defoe, tells the tale of a group of Pirates who meet a young Charles Darwin and - well. It's very convoluted, but essentially, they end up attempting to rescue the very last dodo on earth from the clutches of a maniacally evil Queen Victoria, who wants to serve it up for dinner in her fine dining club which specialises in consuming the rarest beasties in existence.

I wish I could give you the context for this scene, which involves Queen Victoria hiding in a dumb waiter and Charles Darwin covered in feathers,'re going to have to watch the film. Image source.
Queen V's evil dining club doesn't have any basis in royal reality, sadly, but it does seem that Darwin was a part of something called the 'Glutton Club' whilst at Cambridge which he reminisces about rather fondly;
My feelings overpower me when I think of the simple, the elegant, Glutton club & that day of victory and triumph & inward-glorying, which some call sublime, but the wise know it to be the full round feeling from a contented dinner (source)
Charlie, I know how you feel.

The Glutton Club, according to popular belief, seems to have been a place where the members could enjoy feasting on rare species, particularly birds (no mention of dodos, which were extinct by this point), although I haven't found any reliable sources to verify this yet. Perhaps we want to believe this of Darwin because it seems like a disgracefully arrogant hobby, deliciously at odds with his fascination with the natural world and our image of him as a benevolent and gentle man of science.

Another nineteenth-century figure associated with the quest to eat the rarest things on earth is William Buckland, a flamboyant geologist whose popular lectures at Oxford were attended by Thomas Arnold, John Ruskin, and Charles Lyell. Buckland is reported to have eaten mice on toast regularly, as well as puppies, hedgehogs, and, most outrageously, a human heart. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography records that Buckland was on a mission to taste every animal species, and charitably suggests that this was part of a British mission to improve the diet and tastes of its poorly nourished nation. Stephen Jay Gould, in his book Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle also suggests that there were practical uses of this 'systematic gustatory survey', but nothing on the subject is recorded in Buckland's biography, The Life and Correspondence of William Buckland, written by his daughter Elizabeth. Perhaps the relish with which Buckland carried out his task rendered the subject unsuitable for inclusion in his biography. Either way, the tale of Buckland's gastronomic zeal, like that of Darwin's Glutton Club, has proved rather compelling, and is gloriously recounted all over the web. Why are we so fascinated by these stories?

William Buckland looking surprisingly svelte (source)

Buckland had various interests in the way of food - he is recorded as taking a special interest in the diet of the boys whilst head of Westminster School, spearheading the reform of the school menu (a sort of Victorian Jamie Oliver?), and one of his research interests was in corprolites (fossilized faeces) and what they could tell us about the diet and digestion of now extinct creatures, which actually led him to some significant paleontological insights. One of his pupils recounted his memories of Buckland for The Life and Correspondence, including this brilliant but possibly terrifying episode from an undergraduate lecture;
He had in his hand a huge hyena's skull. He suddenly dashed down the steps, rushed, skull in hand, at the first undergraduate on the front bench and shouted, "What rules the world?" The youth, terrified, threw himself against the next back seat, and answered not a word. He rushed then on me, pointing the hyena full in my face; "What rules the world?" "I haven't an idea", I said. "The stomach, sir" he cried (again mounting his rostrum), "rules the world. The great ones eat the less, and the less the lesser still."
I think Buckland's onto something here - eating as an act of power. There's a reason we use the analogy of the food chain to talk about hierarchies and power relationships. In fact, if Buckland's bizarre eating habits were merely a way of carrying out the exploratory culinary aims of the Zoological Society which he helped to found, wasn't he doing so with the aim of creating a strong, imperial nation, one with healthy and robust citizens capable of commanding the empire? Wouldn't his acts of eating then be constructed as potential acts of dominance, not only over the poor creatures on his plate, but also the people of the British colonies?

In many ways, the purported pursuits of Buckland and the Glutton Club are a kind of collecting strategy, only they're not arranging their collections beautifully in cabinets, they're ingesting them. Just as some theories of collecting behaviour see such activity as a material strategy for asserting personal, institutional, or even national dominance, we can read this kind of eating/collecting as another such strategy. The desire to incorporate, which eating as collecting seems to suggest, confirms the theory that all collections lead ultimately back to the collector, which might be an individual or an entity as large as the state. Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists suggests this directly, through the figure of Victoria, the Empress.

To sign off, two things.

Firstly, for a fantastic post on this kind of encyclopaedic eating, (and a picture of Queen Victoria's game larder in 1857 - perhaps she was part of a scoffer's club after all?!) check out Ivan Day's blog Food History Jottings.

Secondly, a marvellous quote from famous collector, Catherine the Great, which I found in Werner Muensterberger's book Collecting: An Unruly Passion. Quizzed on her motivation for collecting, Catherine says
It is not for love of art; it is voraciousness. I am not an amateur. I am a gourmandizer.

Mary Addyman

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Scandal, Horseburgers, and Food adulteration in the Nineteenth Century

John Leech, Punch Magazine, 1858. 
We may think of food adulteration as a problem of our own time. After all, in recent weeks we have been bombarded with stories about horsemeat scandals hitting everything from frozen beefburgers to our beloved Ikea meatballs (say it isn’t so!). As the British public turn to Waitrose in desperation it is worth reflecting on the fact that for the average citizen of the nineteenth century a little horsemeat in their cottage pie was the least of their worries. In fact, food adulteration in the nineteenth century was rife, and was particularly disquieting as it was frequently revealed that staple foodstuffs such as bread, milk, tea and butter had been compromised as distributors tried to improve the appearance of their goods by adding chalk, alum, copper- or an incredible array of other unsavoury and downright dangerous items- during production.

The first official census, taken in 1801, revealed that England and Wales contained a total population of 8,900,000 people- barely more than one third the total of France- however within the next decade this figure increased by nearly another 1.5 million, and by 1851 the population reached eighteen million. Such a population explosion led to an inevitable distancing between producer and consumer. Rather than buying your milk from the farmer up the road who would be sure to lose custom if he sold a below par product, anonymity began to creep in, and it was harder to hold producers to a certain standard. Not only this, but urbanization meant that city dwellers working in factories or other industrial trades had not got the means, access to land, or time to grow and produce their own food.

Although complaints against bakers, millers, and grocers had been raised by the public during the eighteenth century, little notice was taken of reports which were considered exaggerated or biased. However, in 1820 Friedrich Accum published his Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons, and the subject was finally treated methodically, in a scientific manner, and by a highly rated analytical chemist. With the terrifying subtitle of “Exhibiting the fraudulent sophistications of bread, beer, wine, spirituous liquors, tea, coffee, cream, confectionery, vinegar, mustard, pepper, cheese, olive oil, pickles, and other articles employed in domestic economy, and methods of detecting them”, Accum left his readers in little doubt that adulteration was wide spread. In his introduction he writes that this “unprincipled and nefarious practice, increasing in degree as it has been found difficult of detection, is now applied to almost every commodity which can be classed among either the necessaries or the luxuries of life, and is carried on to a most alarming extent in every part of the United Kingdom.” (see Accum, 14) His book not only explains relatively simple experiments that can be done at home to discover the level of adulteration in the food you are about to place on the table, but lists extensively druggists, grocers, brewers, and publicans prosecuted and convicted of the adulteration of beer.
Accum’s book was a great success at the time of publication, the first edition sold out in less than a month, and within two years, it would go into its fourth reprint. However, In 1821 Accum’s career in England came to an abrupt end when he was involved in a scandal, accused of mutilating books in the Royal Institute’s library. Accum’s work fell out of favour and he left the country in disgrace. (I think this sounds like the makings of a James Bond film, and would love to find out more about this shady accusation of book mutilation, which came complete with search warrants and torn book pages.)

The imposition of food adulteration into the domestic sphere through the family dining table adds an extra element of the unsettling to the issue, and this added edge provided the press of the time with a hard-hitting image that they could sell to the public.  The idea that the mother nurturing her child through the provision of such wholesome cornerstones of nutrition as bread and butter could, in fact, be delivering little short of poison into their mouths was alarming enough to permeate the public consciousness, and food adulteration was widely discussed and feared.

Following Accum’s withdrawal from the country the furor surrounding food adulteration died down, but the issue remained in the public consciousness, and it was inevitable that it would evolve into a legislative concern at some point. The year 1850 marks a significant development in the history of food adulteration when Dr Arthur Hassall, physician and lecturer on medicine at the Royal Free Hospital lead an inquiry for the Lancet journal. Between 1851 and 1854 the journal printed weekly reports covering 2,400 analyses of major articles of food and drink. Hassall was the first investigator to make significant use of the microscope when searching for adulteration. The editor of the journal, Thomas Wakley, also published the names and addresses of those manufacturers whose wares were found to be adulterated. Only one accusation of adulteration was ever challenged and this was by a retailer whose goods had been adulterated without his knowledge. Hassall’s report meant that the public were now very much awake to the issue of adulteration, and in 1855 Tennyson makes cutting reference to the scandal in his poem ‘Maud’ as he decries the state of man’s “lust of gain”, asking “who but a fool would have faith in a tradesman’s ware or his word?” and citing not only the adulteration of wine and drugs, but that “chalk and alum and plaster are sold to the poor for bread,/And the spirit of murder works in the very means of life” However, it would be another five years before any legislation would be passed . In 1860 the first Adulteration of Foods Act was passed, and in this same year, Dr Edward Lankester demonstrated that the use of poisonous colouring matters in food were still common, citing recent cases in which three people had died after a public banquet at which they had eaten green blancmange containing arsenite of copper, and of yellow Bath buns which owed their colour to sulphide of arsenic. The reason for the bill’s failure was that the onus was placed on the individual, who had to pay for the privilege of information regarding the purity of the food and drink they were buying. The Bill as it stood could never work effectively, and in 1868 a series of aggressive amendments were proposed to parliament and modified versions of these were eventually passed into law in 1872 as the Adulteration of Food, Drink, and Drugs Act. After numerous complaints about the weaknesses that remained present in the amended Act, the government appointed a new Select Committee in 1874, the result of which was the passing of the Sale of Food and Drugs act in 1875 which – with many amendments- forms the basis of the legislation we are clinging to today.


If you are looking for further reading, and a lot more information on this fascinating topic I would definitely recommend looking at the following:

Friedrich Accum, A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, (London: Longman, 1822)
P. J. Atkins, ‘Sophistication Detected: Or, the Adulteration of the Milk Supply, 1850-1914’, Social History Vol. 16, No. 3 (Taylor & Francis, Ltd., Oct., 1991), pp. 317-339
John Burnett, Plenty and Want: A social history of food in England from 1815 to the present day, (London: Routledge, 1989)

Monday, 3 June 2013

Welcome to Our Conference Blog

This is the blog to accompany our forthcoming conference, Devouring: Food, Drink and the Written Word, 1800-1945. As well as a means of providing you with all the official details as they come in, it is very much our hope that this blog will provide a much more informal space to open up a dialogue that engages with the themes of our conference. As such, over the coming months, we hope to bring you posts on  items such as exhibitions we have been to, books we have read, period cooking that we have done, as well as general musings on food: basically, anything that is conference related and worthy of being seen by the reading public! We also warmly invite our readers to get involved in the discussion as much as possible, so if you have an idea for a post or other contribution, get in contact with us and we’ll have a chat about it.

So stay tuned for all the food, drink, and written culture-related goodness to come.

Mary, Laura and Chris