Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking

Kate Colquhoun

Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking

From the Iron Age to the Industrial Revolution, the Romans to the Regency, few things have mirrored society or been affected by its upheavals as much as the food we eat and the way we prepare it. In this involving history of the British people, Kate Colquhoun celebrates every aspect of our cuisine from Anglo-Saxon feasts and Tudor banquets, through the skinning of eels and the invention of ice cream, to Dickensian dinner-party excess and the growth of frozen food. Taste tells a story as rich and diverse as a five-course dinner. 3.4 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Food & Drink, Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Paperback
Pages 480
RRP £8.99
Date of Publication July 2008
ISBN 978-0747593065
Publisher Bloomsbury
 

From the Iron Age to the Industrial Revolution, the Romans to the Regency, few things have mirrored society or been affected by its upheavals as much as the food we eat and the way we prepare it. In this involving history of the British people, Kate Colquhoun celebrates every aspect of our cuisine from Anglo-Saxon feasts and Tudor banquets, through the skinning of eels and the invention of ice cream, to Dickensian dinner-party excess and the growth of frozen food. Taste tells a story as rich and diverse as a five-course dinner.

This book was first published in 2007.

Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

Jenny Uglow

Read Taste when you are hungry – by the end you will feel very, very full. Every page is packed with good things, historical and culinary, peppered with personalities and salted with wit... From the mead halls of Beowulf to 1960s cocktail parties, Taste is a treat, stuffed with scholarly information yet whisked up as light as a soufflé.

11/10/2007

Read Full Review


The Times

Ian Kelly

It is a gloriously decorated and impressive meal, but I am not utterly won over by the occasional close focus of Colquhoun's panoramic take on British food history; Fanny Burney never wrote a book called Evangelina in 1788 (it was Evelina in 1778) and Carême did not cook for the Rothschilds for 25 years after the stated occasion. But these are quibbles. I want to have faith in her overview despite editors' flaws and the book is a joy, an education, and, as Fanny Craddock used to say, feeds the eye just as much as the mind or stomach.

09/11/2007

Read Full Review


The Independent

Christopher Hirst

A wonderfully nutritious feast... Though Colquhoun's treatment of foodstuffs can sometimes be terse - she could, for example, have told us that the Tudor fondness for candied eryngo (sea holly) stemmed from the belief that it was an aphrodisiac - this book is obligatory for any food-lover.

11/08/2008

Read Full Review


The New York Times

Ian Jack

...The story is well known, and Kate Colquhoun tells it well in “Taste.” But because Colquhoun is a writer of lively detail rather than argument — you might say her book is too busy stuffing its face, one course after another, to pause for conversation — the question of why Britain developed such a poor cuisine is never fully addressed.

24/04/2009

Read Full Review


The Sunday Times

Bee Wilson

She is good on various fashions (telling us that potatoes were “something of an obsession” in the 1820s and that omelettes were likewise “something of an obsession” in the 1910s), but deals less well with the ordinary food of ordinary people. Ultimately, the book is like a culinary theme-park ride through British history – enjoyable while it lasts, but leaving you none the wiser as you disembark.

07/10/2007

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Kathryn Hughes

A work of such super-sized proportions inevitably relies on secondary sources. Yet in one sense this matters not a jot, for who would not enjoy being told all over again about the translucent, teeth-rotting "subtleties" so beloved of the Tudors (etc.)... Where Colquhoun's synthesising method is less successful, however, is in failing to provide a space from which she can interrogate or even amplify the information... Colquhoun is an excellent biographer but not a food historian. Anyone taking on a project as huge as this without any grounding in the subject will inevitably find themselves producing journalism, a story about a story, rather than the thing itself.

03/11/2007

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Chris Ross

Colquhoun purports to analyse two millennia of British history through an exhaustive iteration of recipes and manuals. But in the absence of a thesis, merely accruing details leaves the import of this story unclear. Beneath many pleasurable curiosities... lurks a darker history of adulteration, greed, recurrent famine and want. Too often, changes in culinary taste and value seem to happen by themselves with insufficient attention devoted to the exigencies of industry and profit.

02/08/2008

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore