Dining with the Victorians: A Delicious History

Dining with the Victorians: A Delicious History

by Emma Kay


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From traditional seaside holiday treats like candy floss, ice cream and fish ’n’ chips, to the British fascination for baking, the Victorian era has shaped British culinary heritage. Victoria’s austere attitude after an age of Regency indulgence generated enormous cultural change. Excess and gluttony were replaced with morally upright values, and Victoria’s large family became the centre of the cultural imagination, with the power to begin new traditions. If Queen Victoria’s family sat down to turkey on Christmas day, so did the rest of the nation. Food was a significant part of the Victorians’ lives, whether they had too much of it or not enough. The destitute were fed gruel in the workhouses – the words of Dickens’s Oliver are forever imprinted on our minds: ‘Please, sir, I want some more.’ The burgeoning street traders spilling over from the previous century devolved into a whole new culture of ‘mudlarks’, trotter boilers and food slop traders, to name but a few. Wealthy Victorians gorged with the newly emerging trend for breakfast, lunch and tea. Public dining became de rigeur, and the outdoor ‘pique-nique’, introduced a new way of eating.Victorians also struggled against many of these trends, with the belief that denial of food was a moral good. This was the era of educating and training in food management, combined with the old world of superstition and tradition, that changed British society forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781445677217
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
Publication date: 08/01/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.08(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Emma Kay is a historian and writer. She has worked as a museum professional for over fifteen years in major institutions such as the National Maritime Museum, the British Museum and the University of Bath. She has a degree in History, postgraduate certificate in Roman Archaeology, MA in Heritage Interpretation and a diploma in Cultural Heritage Management. She is a private collector of antique and vintage kitchenalia and writes and speaks about the history of cooking and dining to a variety of audiences. Emma founded the Museum of Kitchenalia in 2012 (www.museumofkitchenalia.co.uk). She lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and young son.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 6

Preface 8

Introduction 9

1 Regency to Regina 31

2 The Poor, Philanthropy and Plenitude 52

3 Childhood and the Victorian Family 74

4 High Days and Holidays 97

5 Culinary Culture 118

6 Training the Masses 142

7 Public Dining (and Everything in Between) 161

8 Population and Empire 182

9 Empire to Emancipation 202

Notes 221

Bibliography 239

Index 253

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