I was looking forward to chomping down this 'comprehensive' history of British food as a reader with an avid interest in historical Britain, and as previously critiqued, Spencer is shockingly sloppy with his English - he lacks any system of logical organisation - but my main 'beef' with this award-winning piece is his research. I simply cannot trust what he says (the end footnotes are permanently bookmarked, one simply cannot stop checking his sources).
He relies heavily on select sources and fails to appreciate the wider arguments. How this won a prestigious award I cannot fathom. You're suspicious from the start, I only had to peruse the Appendices to find a list of national 'dishes'. I do not see how listing, for example, a load of vegetables constitutes a 'dish' (see respective sub-heading). As far as I'm aware, a leek is a leek, it's not quite a culinary dish put together with some craft. This endless rehashing of ingredients available continues in the main, entire paragraphs resemble shopping lists, and it's grating. The first chapter is like an ode to his mainstay source, Aelfric's Colloquy, you may as well go read the original and consider the contemporary evidence. I had to put it down.
As noted, this is an amateur work, not even to a dissertation standard.
Very disappointing, and it never fails to amaze me how shoddy the standards are of some publishers for they'll still publish any old manuscript-in-working without endless polishing. This needs some desperate work, and I dare say, I could do a better job. I daresay, you yourself, could do a better job.