In this revelatory work of social history, C. M. Woolgar shows that food in late-medieval England was far more complex, varied, and more culturally significant than we imagine today. Drawing on a vast range of sources, he charts how emerging technologies as well as an influx of new flavors and trends from abroad had an impact on eating habits across the social spectrum. From the pauper’s bowl to elite tables, from early fad diets to the perceived moral superiority of certain foods, and from regional folk remedies to luxuries such as lampreys, Woolgar illuminates desire, necessity, daily rituals, and pleasure across four centuries.
C. M. Woolgar is professor of history and archival studies at the University of Southampton and editor of the Journal of Medieval History. He lives in Hampshire, UK.
“In this meticulously researched study, Christopher Woolgar serves up a feast of information about food in medieval England… By successfully interrogating the relationship between, communities, institutions and food, Woolgar provides some fascinating new perspectives on medieval life.”—Louise Wilkinson, Literary Review
“Woolgar has written a social history of cooking and eating that will provide raw data for many years to come and inspire many more...”—Economic History Review
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