A short history of Britain's favourite food and drink; from strawberries to spaghetti, tomatoes to tea, and how we have enjoyed them over the centuries
One of The Times Books of the Year 2020
'Fascinating and entertaining - a pleasure to read.' Claudia Roden
As a nation of food-lovers we have been munching on fruit and veg, drinking tea and coffee and adorning our dishes with oils and spices for generations, but have you ever stopped to wonder how our most beloved foods came to be the way they are now?
In this series of enlightening and highly entertaining essays, award-winning food writer Mark Riddaway travels back through the centuries to tell the fascinating, surprising and often downright bizarre stories of some of the everyday ingredients found at London's Borough Market.
Discover how the strawberries we eat today had their roots in a clandestine trip to South America by a French spy whose surname happened to be Strawberry, why three-quarters of Britain's late-18th-century intake of tea was sold on the black market, and what Sigmund Freud found so fascinating about eel genitalia.
From the humble apples and onions that we've grown on these shores for centuries, to more exotic ingredients like cinnamon and bananas that travel from across the world to finesse our food, Borough Market: Edible Histories offers a chance to digest the charming stories behind every last morsel.
The story of Borough Market mirrors the British food revolution. This book tells that story; deliciously, ingredient by ingredient.
This is the perfect book for those moments when you find yourself in the kitchen wondering about how a particular ingredient found its way into our everyday culinary lives. It's as enticing as Borough Market always is, as witty as Mark Riddaway always is, and packed with the kind of knowledge I love.
Fascinating and entertaining - a pleasure to read.
It's so important that Borough and the food community are supported, and what better way of spreading the word than through the stories and histories of a most historic market that has become a unique beacon of good things.
This book is for lovers of food and markets and history. It's also a book that everyone who eats should read. It is fascinating, informative and entertaining. Mark Riddaway effortlessly guides us though Borough, telling the story of the market and its produce with ease and grace.
Mark Riddaway's Edible Histories is thoroughly researched and engagingly written and belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in food history. Even if you are not interested, this is the book that will get you started.
He celebrates the really fascinating past of some of our most everyday ingredients... if you're someone who likes to geek out on food knowledge, you will love this book. - The Food Programme, BBC Radio 4
An engaging compendium of unexpected truths and half-truths behind some of our most popular ingredients. Mark Riddaway uncovers epic tales for everything from apples to eels, vinegar to ice cream. - The Times Books of the Year 2020