Londoners’ Larder: English Cuisine from Chaucer to the Present
05 May 2005
In a vivid panorama, Londoner’s Larder presents the food of a great city. Annette Hope has used biography, literature and social history to explore the city of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Pepys, Johnson, Dickens, Wilde and Virginia Woolf, and to show in lively detail what these writers and their contemporaries might have eaten, where the food came from and how it was cooked. She looks at problems of supply, distribution, nutrition, cooking, and health and hygiene as the city expanded and changed character, and chronicles the effects of social, economic, and ethnic shifts since the end of the Second World War. At the end of each chapter are recipes from the period, written in modern, usable form.
From the takeaway pasties baked by the Cook in The Canterbury Pilgrims to dinner at the Café Royal, from John Evelyn’s recipes for salads to Mrs Beeton, from the introduction of coffee to the appearance of ration books, this book charts the gastronomic life of London in scholarly and entertaining detail. A discussion of the city as it is at the beginning of the twenty-first century rounds off the picture – a time when Middle Eastern and Oriental food is commonplace, and much of the cuisine available in European restaurants is inspired by that on offer in popular holiday resorts and purely ‘British’ food is difficult to find.
If London beguiles you, literature seduces you, and recipes fascinate you, this pioneering book will intrigue and delight you.