Art of Dining: A History of Cooking and Eating
... 'tis very fine, but where d'ye sleep, or where d'ye dine? Blenheim Palace was still being built when this verse was composed in 1714. The author ... Show synopsis ... 'tis very fine, but where d'ye sleep, or where d'ye dine? Blenheim Palace was still being built when this verse was composed in 1714. The author - possibly Alexander Pope or Jonathan Swift - was attacking the grandiloquent baroque style of architecture which placed dining rooms far from kitchens, making food stone cold before it even reached the table. The question posed is one that fascinates visitors to historic houses - in England and elsewhere. Sleeping habits and arrangements have changed comparatively little over the centuries, but cooking and eating have undergone revolution after revolution. Behind the curious ingredients and mysterious language of old cookbooks lies a completely different world, where the foods that we take for granted were often not available, food preparation, cooking and preservation were laborious tasks, and the art of dining reflected social attitudes far removed from modern practice. Sara Paston-Williams has used the great wealth of Britain's National Trust houses and records to produce this carefully researched book. She has tackled the huge subject chronologically, from the cavernous kitchens and great halls of medieval houses like Cotehele in Cornwall to the ingenious technology of late Victorian service areas such as that at Cragside in Northumberland, which produced food for ornate dining rooms and intimate parlors. Each chapter of The Art of Dining includes historical recipes, together with their modern adaptations. The result is a feast for the eye as well as a fascinating guide to all the arts of dining.