Shopping Cart   |   Help

British Food: An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History

Colin Spencer

Share |

November, 2003
Cloth, 416 pages, 48 illus.
ISBN: 978-0-231-13110-0
$50.00 / £34.50


Chapter 1: Prologue: The Land

After the Romans

The Early Church

The Countryside


Open Field System

Women and the Law

Chapter 2: Anglo-Saxon Gastronomy

Foods and Fasts

Cooking the Food

Food for the Elite

Feast Halls

Herbal Knowledge

The Famine Years

Chapter 3: Norman Gourmets 1100-1300

The Normans

The Earliest Recipes

Medieval Sauces

Spice and Splendour


The Four Humours





The Kitchen

Fruit and Vegetables

The Anglo-Norman Cuisine

The Significance of the Cuisine

Chapter 4: Anarchy and Haute Cuisine 1300-1500

Famine and Feast

The Black Death

The Forme of Cury

A Country Household

The Medieval Housewife

Milk Drinking

Pilgrim Food

The Aristocratic Diet

The Peasant Diet

The Peasant Diet

The Church

The Wars of the Roses

Chapter 5: Tudor Wealth and Domesticity

The Reformation

Royal Proclamations

Tudor Farming

Food of the Star Chamber

Tudor Cooking


Wealth and Commerce


Chapter 6: A Divided Century

Civil War

Gentlewomen's Secrets

The Bedford Kitchen

The Rise of the Market Garden

The Accomplish't Cook

New Beverages

Samuel Pepys

John Evelyn

The Rise of Capitalism

New Thoughts on Farming

Cow's Milk

A Coronation and Patrick Lamb, Court Cook

La Varenne

Chapter 7: Other Island Appetites


Early Medieval Ireland

Late Medieval Period

The Potato and Famine

Modern Period


Early Agriculture

The Food

The French Influence

The Eighteenth Century

The Role of Women

Scottish Cookery


Early Riches

The Gentry

Cattle Droves

Welsh Food

The Twentieth Century

Chapter 8: Glories of the Country Estate


Change and Display

The Technology of Cooking

Tea Time

The French and Hannah Glasse

Sea Travel

White Bread and Potatoes

Women Cooks

The Country Estate

Parson Woodforde

Chapter 9: Industry and Empire

A Leap Forward

The Disappearance of Peasant Cooking

A New Town

Servants and Cooks

Jane Austen and the Brontes


Street Food

Fish and Chips

The Food of the Poor

Chapter 10: Victorian Food

Isabella Beeton

Beeton's Book

A La Russe

French and British Cooking

Cheap Imports

Convenience Food

The Rise of the Fancy Biscuits

Drinking Milk

Reasons for the Decline of British Cooking

Chapter 11: Food for All

Food for Heroes

Working Class Food

Milk Crisis

J. Lyons & Co. Ltd.

First World War

Social Upheaval

British Canned Food

Diet in the Thirties

Rebirth of a Cuisine

New Technology and Middle Class Cooking

Second World War

The Age of Austerity

Cordon Bleu

Fifties Food

Elizabeth David

Going Ethnic

Chapter 12: The Global Village

Health Foods

Fast Food

Fast Food

Diet Towards the Millennium

Farming Crisis

World Trade

The Essential British Cuisine

Rebirth of the British Cuisine

Appendix I: Wild Food Plants of the British Isles

Appendix II: The Traditional British Cooking



Glossary of Conversions

Picture Credits

Select Bibliography


Related Subjects


About the Author

Colin Spencer is an author and playwright and was food editor for The Guardian for thirteen years. He is the author of Vegetarianism: A History and co-author of The Faber Book of Food.

top of page