Clarissa Dickson Wright returns with a book tracing the history of English food from the 12th century to the eve of the First World War.
She displays an impressive breadth of knowledge, placing the changing gastronomy of England in its economic, social and political context. Her prose is brisk and busily informative, bristling with personal anecdotes and notes on animal husbandry, cooking and farming.
There’s a thread of paternalist fervour to Dickson Wright’s approving reconstructions of a country run along lines of well-organised communitarian feudalism, making this a history which should be taken with a pinch of salt. An entertaining, educational read nonetheless.