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The Englishman's Food: Five Centuries of English Diet [Paperback]

J.C. Drummond , Anne Wilbraham
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Oct 1994

Medieval gardens; cookshops; spices; ale, beer, wine and spirits; the food of peasants, labourers, townspeople, the wealthy, the poor and the country gentleman; fish, meat and game; the feeding of infants, children; dairy products; vitamins, proteins, fat and fibre; the adulteration of food; the four bottle man; bread; poaching; tea, coffee and chocolate; food in schools and institutions; sugar and sweetmeats; root crops; the agricultural revolution; the importance of 'white meats', the vegetarian diet; menus and recipes. . .

The Englishman's Food was first published in 1939, fully revised in 1957 and now appears with a new updating introduction. A ground-breaking book, it is a fascinating and authoritative survey of food production, consumption, fashions and follies over a period of five hundred years.

Reprinted with a new introduction by food editor Tom Jaine.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New Ed edition (6 Oct 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712650253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712650250
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The achievement of this pioneering book is very great. It remains a remarkable contribution to the study of eating habits and health in society" (Derek Cooper)

"The most valuable contribution of its kind" (Guardian)

"This fascinating book should be read from cover to cover" (Daily Telegraph)

"A tour de force" (Observer)

"To read it is a pleasure as well as a duty; learned and well-written, it is a mine of curious information" (New Statesman)

Book Description

One of the great classic works on the ever fascinating subject of food.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic 17 Dec 2011
By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER
This fascinating and broad-ranging book is full of surprises. I enjoyed it immensely. Though now quite old-fashioned in tone and layout, the wealth of information makes it still well worth reading.

Drummond was a biochemist, and played a crucial role in the Second World War. It is largely thanks to his work on the nutritional content of food that the nation came out of the war healthier than it went in. During the First World War,there had been widespread malnutrition, and in the inter-war years a huge amount of research was done on matters such as vitamins. Drummond's expertise really shows in the section on scurvy, which is absolutely rivetting stuff, revealing the impact of Vitamin C - and our ignorance about it - on history.

As you may have gathered, this isn't a historical cookbook. It is a survey of our diet from the late middle ages on, and is, in it's readble way, quite serious and academic. It is also easy to read, Drummond wearing his erudition nonchalantly. Incidentally, the better-known title FOOD IN HISTORY. by Reay Tannahill, takes a great deal of its substance from this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly useful and just amazing too 26 Dec 2000
By A. Woodley - Published on
This useful book has been reprinted a number of times since it first hit the shelves in 1939. It follows 500 years of diet in Britain covering the Medieval and Tudor times and then in centurys to modern day 20th century diet.
The interesting thing I found was that it is in part a social history, partly an account of scientific advances in food and mostly a jolly good read. This is because it is told almost as installments of a story. For instance each Century has divisions in it to show the development of cures for common sicknesses such as Scurvey, Rickest and so on but there are also divisions for what various classes of people would be eating and the effect this would have on their health. You can, therefore read the book from start to finish and end up with an overview of the development of diet, or you can browse the chapters and read selectively for what you are most interested in. The chapters on Scurvey - especially in the eighteenth century are particularly interesting I think.
In fact the eighteenth century chapter, to me, was by far the most interesting all round, for this was when the earliest advances seemed to be made on energy requirements from food - that all food wasn't created equal, and that one had to have a certain amount of it to survive - the experiments are incredible - as is the level of food adulteration mentioned. The section on the Nineteenth century also has a wonderful section on the advances made in the preservation of food.
There are a good collection of appendixes with various diets from through the ages and from different institutions through the ages. Definitely readable, very informative, a good reference to have on the shelf.
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