There has been no serious consideration of local food in England. Most available material is lightweight, not very informative, and a waste of time for serious students. Prospect Books is about to change this, in the first instance with respect to the north country. Last year Peter Brears published Traditional Food in Northumbria (Excellent Press). This title has now been taken on by Prospect Books. The next county for treatment is Yorkshire, the author’s home. He has already written on this subject (John Donald, 1987) but this new work is double the length, with many more illustrations and supporting material.The book opens with a survey of the various economic and social groups in the county. progresses to a study of cooking, fuel and installations, then concentrates in a series of single subject chapters on staple foods porridge, oatcake, bread, meat, fish, puddings, and cakes. There then follows chapters on dairy products and drinks, and closes with a folkloric survey of feats, fairs and calendar customers, and rites of passage such as headwashings, weddings and funerals.
Peter Brears is former Director of the Leeds City Museums and one of England’s foremost authorities on domestic artifacts and historical kitchens and cooking technology. In 2014, his book Traditional Food in Yorkshire was published with Prospect Books and in 2015, Prospect Books brought out his study of food in England, Cooking and Dining in Tudor and Early Stuart England.