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English Food: A Social History of England Told Through the Food on Its Tables

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The Oxford Literary Festival has in my mind become the leading literary festival of the year. The organisation, the roster of speakers, the ambience and the sheer quality of it all is superb. May it now go from strength to strength each year stretching its ambition more and more. I believe it will. Doubtless the UKIP representative’s attitude combined nostalgia for a remembered past with a not unreasonable desire for the government to do something to revive the area’s economy to create a better future for the entire community. There are hundreds/thousands of sadly decayed seaside resort towns across the country (though on the coast, obv) and our best political minds (haha) have for generations failed to provide a solution for their plight. Let’s suppose that an eager JP has put together a significant number of depositions – complaints in writing from your fellow villagers – and has also interrogated you, and got a confession from you. The next stage is that all this evidence is put to a jury, who decide whether to take it to trial or not.

Diane Purkiss - Wikipedia Diane Purkiss - Wikipedia

Three Tragedies by Renaissance Women, an edition of Iphigeneia at Aulis, by Lady Jane Lumley, The Tragedie of Antonie, by Lady Mary Sidney, The Tragedy of Mariam, by Elizabeth Cary, Viscountess Falkland ( Penguin, 1998) There are, however, some missteps – though overall they make little difference. Beer was not always strong, and eggs were smaller in the late-18th century, so cutting down on their number when re-creating recipes of that period makes perfect sense. I’d liked to have seen more on the (much repeated) claim that everyone had such terrible teeth they had to eat purée all the time; and airy statements about historians having ‘set views’ on certain topics (e.g. grocers) grate.

Often as an author, I only occasionally get to meet the public who buy and read my books. The Oxford Literary Festival was a special opportunity for me and certainly one of the highlights of my career – it was an honour I will never forget. There is no counsel for the defence. If you are found guilty, you could become one of the 30,000–60,000 people who were executed for witchcraft in the early modern era.

Diane Purkiss’s fantasy dinner: chefs from history show off Diane Purkiss’s fantasy dinner: chefs from history show off

That’s right. Although it depends on the boulangerie. There’s a chain called Éric Kayser boulangeries—I think there are more than twenty now—which all craft a thing called the baguette Monge or sometimes the baguette tradition, which uses what the French call ‘old dough’ as the basis for the fermentation. So there’s an element of sourdough. But virtually every other grocery will be selling something pretty indistinguishable from what is sold in upmarket supermarkets over here. And if you go to Carrefour, or somewhere like that, you will smell the fresh bread, but it will be what’s called ‘bake off’ in the trade—it’s also called the ‘Milton Keynes process’ that produces the dough, hilariously—essentially they just push a lot of additives into it. It qualifies as an ultra-processed food because of the enormous amount of gluten it contains, and the preservatives, the stabilisers, the fat… it can just about be sold as ‘bread’, but you’re not supposed to sell it as a ‘baguette’. Purkiss was born in Sydney, New South Wales, and was educated at Roseville College, Our Lady of the Rosary Convent, and Stuartholme School. She received a BA with first class Honours from the University of Queensland and D.Phil. from Merton College, Oxford. She became lecturer in English at the University of East Anglia in 1991, and lecturer in English at the University of Reading in 1993. In 1998 she became Professor of English at Exeter University, before taking up her current post at Keble College in 2000. A rich and indulgent history, English Food will change the way you view your food and understand your past.

The witch’s familiar was usually a small animal, sometimes as tiny as a housefly. The witch fed the familiar and in return, it might grudgingly act out her commands. It was, in fact, a kind of fairy known as the household brownie or hob. These creatures favour cream and have to be appeased by constant offerings of it or they can start to behave like poltergeists. It was therefore assumed that they could be put to work ruining the work of other householders.

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