- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 1st edition 1st issue edition (1 Oct. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0747585768
- ISBN-13: 978-0747585763
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4.3 x 24.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 191,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking Hardcover – 1 Oct 2007
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There is nothing new under the sun. As Kate Colquhouns utterly fascinating Taste proves, this nation has always been fascinated by food and cookery, even though it's the more recent explosion of media interest that has made the subject seem omnipresent. Subtitled The Story of Britain through its Cooking, Colquhouns brief is to take us on a mesmerising journey from the Roman era right up to the age of bullying TV celebrity chefs.
The book arrives emblazoned with recommendations from such august cookery figures as Marguerite Patten, and mixes sharp social history into its examination of 2000 years of culinary experimentation and achievement. The early Britons enjoyed wild boar feasts, and such delicacies as olive oil and spices were introduced in Roman Britain, and there have been few periods when the English have not been trying to tickle the taste buds in new and inventive ways (even in the straightened times of wartime rationing, great invention could be found in utilising what few ingredients were available).
Colquhoun poses (and answers) a massive range of intriguing questions such as: what was the common factor between roast meat and morality in the 18th century? And why did the Black Death inaugurate new conditions for rural baking? Colquhoun set herself a daunting task with this ambitious book, but Taste succeeds triumphantly in both entertaining and informing. If you read it, you'll be able to enlighten (or bore) friends with a million and one arcane facts about food and cookery. But the thing that most of us will take away from the book is the realisation that the novelties of modern cooking that we pride ourselves on are not quite as novel as we thought -- our ancestors were very imaginative in the kitchen. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Charming details appear on every page of this fluently written survey." -- Bee Wilson, Sunday Times Culture
"Read Taste when you are hungry-by the end you will feel very, very full." -- Jenny Uglow, Sunday Telegraph (Seven)
"Taste is a treat. Stuffed with scholarly information yet whisked up as light as a soufflé."
-- Jenny Uglow, Sunday Telegraph (Seven)
"The book teems with pleasing insights." -- Paul Levy, Observer
"This is a fascinating book, brilliantly researched and involvingly presented." -- Tim Martin, Daily Telegraph
'Kate Colquhoun is the perfect combination of a meticulous social historian and gifted writer, one who combines information with anecdote to make this a readable history of Britain through its food.' -- The Bookseller, July 20, 2007
Every page is packed with good things, historical and cuinary, peppered
with personalities and salted with wit... Colquhoun makes each period
swim into view through little snapshots of the people and their
culture... We learn of generations of cooks and kitchen maids and
boys, follow the development of technology from Roman cauldrons and
Tudor spits to tinned foods and microwaves and trace the fashions and
shifts in meal times, utensils and place settings. From the mead halls
of Beowulf to 1960s cocktail parties, Taste is a treat, stuffed with
scholarly information yet whisked up light as a souffle... -- Jenny Uglow, The Sunday Telegraph
Every page is packed with good things, historical and cuinary, peppered with personalities and salted with wit... Colquhoun makes each period swim into view through little snapshots of the people and their culture... We learn of generations of cooks and kitchen maids and boys, follow the development of technology from Roman cauldrons and Tudor spits to tinned foods and microwaves and trace the fashions and shifts in meal times, utensils and place settings. From the mead halls of Beowulf to 1960s cocktail parties, Taste is a treat, stuffed with scholarly information yet whisked up light as a souffle...
-- Jenny Uglow, The Sunday Telegraph
Kate Colquhoun's delightfully savoury stamp through the past shows the
history of British cooking, like that of our language, has been one of
adaptation and imitation... not only is it a fascinating and surprising
story; it says more good things about the British than we might
imagine... Crucially, in such a history, Colquhoun excels at evoking
the smells and tastes of the past... this is z book that delights in
overturning our notions of the past... A fascinating book, brilliantly
researched and involvingly presented. -- The Telegraph
`Kate Colquhoun has done an engaging and admirable job of exploring one of food history's richest areas, British food. To understand Britain or understand the central role of food in history, read this book.' -- Mark Kurlansky
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Top Customer Reviews
There are lots of facts about how names of dishes arose and how sayings connected with food came about. One is reminded how recently some of our familiar foods were introduced and how food fads and avoidances are not new. The author, quite rightly, emphasizes the huge gulf that existed until well into the 20th century between what the well-to-do were eating compared with the majority barely keeping body and soul together. The book is thus, inevitably, also about social history.
I finished the book very grateful to be cooking in the modern era and with enhanced respect for those who cooked in the past.
Not only is it extremely well-researched, it is written in a very approachable style that has had me laughing out loud at times. It is packed with facts, useless information, stomach-turning moments that make me grateful I'm a vegetarian (dishes garnished with cockscombs and sweetbreads) and flashes of pure envy (early ice-creams moulded into painted fruits).
My partner is waiting to read "Taste" after me, despite being constantly regaled with my snippets of it, as it is a fantastic piece of social history. The only tiny criticism I can offer is that is would be even better if it was counterbalanced by a bit more information about the cooking habits of the lower classes, but it's a fascinating read nevertheless.
This book is great - it's a fascinating investigation into the history of British food and how, as society, politics, and science have changed, so has our food. It's funny, interesting, and informative, and the writing style is very engaging. I felt as though people from centuries gone by were brought to life through her lively narrative (where *do* you seat the pope's parents at the dinner table?).
My only criticism of the book is how hungry it makes me.
There's a hint of the nature of the difficulty in the oddly separated bibliography. The books used by the author are separated into so-called primary and secondary sources, a fashionable thing for a historian to do. But the primary sources quoted are, for the most part, not so much primary as modern editions of primary sources, and a good number of the secondary sources are so out of date that they are better treated as primary sources for their own period than as reliable interpretative sources for a new history.
The weakness in historical interpretation is clearest in the first part of the book, where an old-fashioned and out-of-date account of Britain's early history--apparently rooted in fairly random dips into Romano-British archaeology--encourages the author to guess and make judgements about her subject when a better informed writer might have been more cautious and less judgemental.
There is no evidence here that Ms Colquhoun has come across Colin Renfrew's revolutionary redrawing of Europe's (and Britain's) ethnic and linguistic map ('Archaeology and Language', London, 1987) or Julian Richards' 'Blood of the Vikings' (2001). Between them, these advances in our understanding of the origins of English and the people who spoke it draw a very different picture of southern Britain before 1066, one in which the speakers of early English (including the Angles, Saxons and Jutes who arrived from the European coast from Denmark's Jutland peninsula and south) were by no means the caricature barbarians she represents.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must for anyone interested in the history of our nations food.Published 10 months ago by D. Meeks
Lots of detail about cooking and menus through the ages. A little dense in places, but interestingPublished 15 months ago by Frankwdt
This is a very interesting and informative read and it is highly recommended for anyone who has an interest in history and food.Published on 14 Nov. 2013 by Melani
A jolly good read if youre interested in food cookery and the origins of recipes and how they have evoleved.Published on 17 Oct. 2013 by Kerrypickle
Delightful and delicious read. A journey through British culinary achievements and weird recipes (flamingos?!). Pots and pans and their development through the centuries. Read morePublished on 4 Sept. 2013 by lovereading
I bought this book for my husband and he has loved it and recommended it to a friend.
A great history and factual information about British cuisine.
This is a lovely educational book,I would have enjoyed history much more if there had been more information about the way people lived which obviously includes what they ate and... Read morePublished on 22 Jan. 2013 by Rhian Williams