Consuming Passions

Consuming Passions : History of English Food and Appetite

3.38 (21 ratings by Goodreads)
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What have the ancient Romans with their orgies, the primitive Christians with their fasts and their guilt to do with the English traditions of food? Why are oysters and celery believed to be aphrodisiacs? How is eating connected to sexual desire? In this history of the English appetite, Philippa Pullar answers these questions in an amusing manner. She draws such apparently unconnected subjects as phallic worship, cannibalism, agriculture, wet-nursing, prostitution, witchcraft, magic and aphrodisiacs into a fascinating synthesis. Starting with the Romans, she charts the development of the art of cooking, drawing surprising parallels between eating habits, religion and sexual mores. She guides us through the kitchens and dining rooms of such noted gourmets as Heliogabalus, Vittelius, Dr. Johnson and Sydney Smith, into the pubs of Pepys and Lord Rochester and into the bedrooms with Frank Harris. Finally she illustrates her theme by providing recipes for long-forgotten dishes.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 134.6 x 210.8 x 25.4mm | 362.88g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 40 b&w illustrations
  • 0141390662
  • 9780141390666

Table of contents

Part 1 Roman spring: instruments of pleasure; from poetry dinners to wanton junketings. Part 2 Orgiastic celebration and holy emaciation. Part 3 A world apart: man eating men; a small reflection. Part 4 Where are the joys of hall?. Part 5 Mediaeval summer: new avenues of satisfaction; manners and mealtimes; spices, strong words and beer for breakfast; houses of buxomness and peace. Part 6 The British oak of cooking: quickened by the fruits of adultery; pudding time, Pepys and puritanism. Part 7 Corporate greed: the misfortune of fortunate people; culinary erections; buttock of beef. Part 8 A new desire enclosed: a business lubrication; stomachs; mass evacuation. Part 9 Tarmac winter: the last of the sows' udders; "entre deux guerres"; fuel not food; death in the pot. Appendices: the stuff of dreams; recipes.
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Review quote

"* 'A book so readable and so engagingly full of unstuffy knowledge, wisdom and just plain fun' NEW STATESMAN * 'The author has found time for astonishingly wide reading. It is impossible to give more than a tiny sample of the fascinations to be found in this book - instructive, funny and macabre.' TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT"
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About Philippa Pullar

Philippa Pullar was born in London in 1935. She received a Cordon Bleu Certificate of Cookery and was a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society. She also wrote an acclaimed biography of FRANK HARRIS to be published in Penguin Classic Biography in August 2001.
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Rating details

21 ratings
3.38 out of 5 stars
5 14% (3)
4 43% (9)
3 24% (5)
2 5% (1)
1 14% (3)
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