Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9781789142075 Published May 2020 For sale in North and South America only
An e-book edition will be published.

Eating the Empire

Food and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Troy Bickham

Eating the Empire

Troy Bickham

Distributed for Reaktion Books

288 pages | 85 halftones | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9781789142075 Published May 2020 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $30.00 ISBN: 9781789142457 Published April 2020 For sale in North and South America only
When students gathered in a London coffeehouse and smoked tobacco; when Yorkshire women sipped sugar-infused tea; or when a Glasgow family ate a bowl of Indian curry, were they aware of the mechanisms of imperial rule and trade that made such goods readily available? In Eating the Empire, Troy Bickham unfolds the extraordinary role that food played in shaping Britain during the long eighteenth century (circa 1660–1837), when such foreign goods as coffee, tea, and sugar went from rare luxuries to some of the most ubiquitous commodities in Britain—reaching even the poorest and remotest of households. Bickham reveals how trade in the empire’s edibles underpinned the emerging consumer economy, fomenting the rise of modern retailing, visual advertising, and consumer credit, and, via taxes, financed the military and civil bureaucracy that secured, governed, and spread the British Empire.
Contents
Introduction Part I: Encountering, Acquiring and Peddling 1 The Empire’s Bounty 2 The New British Consumer 3 Advertising and Imperialism Part II: Defining, Reproducing and Debating 4 Defining a British Cuisine 5 An Edible Map of Mankind 6 The Politics of Food Conclusion References Selected Sources Acknowledgements Photo Acknowledgements Index
Review Quotes
Politiken (Denmark)
"Everyone is wondering what the corona pandemic can teach us about ourselves and the world we live in. Maybe the answer is in a new . . . book on British food habits in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. . . . Although Bickham had no idea about the virus when he wrote his book, he draws a vivid and suddenly up-to-date picture of how people's everyday lives intertwine across worlds and time zones, when goods are constantly crossing borders."
Asian Affairs
"Entertainingly written, with blessedly little historiographical jargon, amusingly illustrated with a wealth of contemporary caricatures, this book allows you to ponder the interpenetration of consumption and social action. Great stuff."
Erika Rappaport, professor of history, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of "A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World"
"Eating the Empire is a delicious soup, which brings humble and familiar ingredients together into a satisfying and nutritious meal. By studying the foodways of the British Isles during the long eighteenth century, Bickham shows how ordinary men and women encountered and appropriated the Empire, Europe, and the Enlightenment and developed a national cuisine that was both local and global."
James Walvin, professor emeritus of history, University of York, author of "How Sugar Corrupted the World: From Slavery to Obesity"
"The nature of food and eating is so central to social experience, and this book succeeds in saying something new in a lively scholarly field, showing an admirable grasp of both the broader background—Britain and the Empire—and the specific details about a range of foodstuffs."
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