What can the recipes of the past tell us about the society they came from?

Prof. Rebecca Earle

Old cookery books can tell us a lot more than just how to cook a meal. What do they reveal about topics as diverse as access to technology and the concept of truth?

Learn about this Garden Talk

What if those old cookbooks gathering dust on your bookshelf were actually the perfect lens through which to view and understand history?

Cookbooks tell us so much about the society and time in which they were written, and not just about food matters. They reveal when, as a society, we started using quantities as a way to show truth. And they give us unparalleled insights into the technologies available to people at specific points in history.

Join Professor Rebecca Earle as she delves through a collection of old cookbooks and explores the clues about history, anthropology, and society secreted within their pages.

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Talk outline


50 minutes

What to expect

30 minute talk

20 minute Member Q&A

Prof. Rebecca Earle

Rebecca Earle is a professor of History at Warwick University. She is interested in how ordinary, every-day cultural practices such as eating or dressing, or even using postage stamps, shape how we think about the world.

Food for Thought Collection

Why is food so important to us? Beyond its nutritional benefits, food connects people. This series explores how our relationship with food has evolved over time and the meanings that different cultures ascribe to food.