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234 × 156 × 21 mm
288 pages
50 illustrations
01 Mar 2008
  • £19.95

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Spicing up Britain The Multicultural History of British Food Panikos Panayi

Among the cuisines of Europe, Britain's has traditionally been regarded as the black sheep - kippers, jellied eels and blood pudding rarely elicit the same fond feelings as chocolate mousse or pasta primavera. Yet despite these unfortunate stereotypes, British cuisine is today one of the most interesting and varied in the world. In this remarkable history of British food, Panikos Panayi reveals the transformation and enrichment of British cuisine by diverse international influences.From the arrival of Italian ice-cream vendors and German pork butchers, to the rise of curry as the national dish, Spicing Up Britain reveals the fascinating multicultural history of British food over the last 150 years, showing how a combination of immigration, increased wealth and globalization have transformed the eating habits of the British. From the spaghetti bolognese and Thai green curry that Britons eat at home to the dishes from all corners of the world cooked by celebrity chefs on TV, Britain has become a country of great diversity, in which people of different backgrounds are united by their readiness to sample a wide variety of foods introduced by manifold ethnic groups. Even migrant communities themselves adapt their traditional products to the British environment, as Panayi illustrates. Taking in changes to home cooking, restaurants and takeaways, grocery shops and delicatessens and cookbooks, Panayi's flavourful account will appeal to all who enjoy Britain's multicultural cuisine.

‘This history is a complex and subtle social and cultural stew - irresistibly appetising.’ — The Scotsman

‘Wearing his twin hats of foodie and social historian, Panikos Panayi can appall as well as engender salivation on his tour d'horizon of the multicultural history of British food. His book demonstrates convincingly that whether drawing on its former colonial and imperial possessions . . . or on its European neighbors, the openness of British society has truly enriched its diet and produced its present-day variegated cuisine.’ — Washington Times

Spicing up Britain is a fascinating, accessible and enjoyable journey through British food and immigration history. It illustrates the way in which the nation's diet has changed for the better over the past 150 years and how immigration has influenced the eating habits of a nation. The book is one that can rightly demand its place on academic bookshelves and on those of lovers of food alike.’ — Ethnic and Racial Studies

‘a significant contribution to scholarship about the development of modern British food practices . . . this is a fine and authoritative book that will provide inspiration, as well as a very valuable guide to sources.’ — Twentieth Century British History

‘Next time someone fulminates about foreign invaders or lazy immigrants give them a copy of Panayi's book. Or buy them a meal.’ — Diplomat Magazine

Spicing Up Britain is about who we are, and the way we eat illustrates that in a colourful and inclusive way. It's a thoroughly good read!’ — MostlyFood.co.uk

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Panikos Panayi is Professor of European History at De Montfort University, Leicester, and the author of Spicing Up Britain: The Multicultural History of British Food (Reaktion, 2008).


Part I: Introduction
1. British and Foreign Food
Part II: The First Ripples of Change, Circa 1850-1945
2. Immigration and the Emergence of 'Ghetto' Food
3. The Birth of the Foreign Restaurant
4. Changes in British Eating Habits
Part III: The Culinary Revoultion Since 1945
5. The Multiculturalization of Migrant Food
6. The Victory of the Foreign Restaurant
7. The Revolution in the Home
Part IV: Conclusion
8. Food and Multiculturalization
Photo Acknowledgements