Explore and sample the best and worst of historical food, from Ancient Rome to the twentieth century. Learn about famous chefs and their recipes. Discover the joy of medieval pastries and thing you really should not know about early margarine.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: Introduction to food history and exploring basic concepts
  • Topic 2: Overeating in Ancient Rome - Apicius and his cookbook
  • Topic 3: When gluttony was a deadly sin - medieval and renaissance gourmet delights
  • Topic 4: The British empire's belly - home cooking in England in the eighteenth century
  • Topic 5: Royal recipes
  • Topic 6: The rise of the modern cookbook - Mrs Beeton and friends
  • Topic 7: The Age(s) of exploration - new food, new taste buds and new national cuisine
  • Topic 8: American frontier and colonial cooking

Depending on class interest and time, we may explore other places, times and food.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students should have:

  • an understanding of food history, research of food history, and its relation with other types of history
  • knowledge of ingredients and recipes and culinary interests in Western history
  • an understanding of the links between food and trade and politics.

Who should enrol

Recommended for anyone with an interest in food and history. Previous knowledge of historical events will enrich your understanding of the subject matter but is not necessary.