European Cuisine and British Identity in the Age of Nationalism, 1760-1837

This project investigates British identity through the influence of Europe on its diet and cuisine
Project status

Today’s recurrent nationalism makes it more important than ever to understand processes of cultural exchange and transnational identities. This project explores the contradiction between an apparent ambivalence towards Europe and a fervour for continental flavour through a consideration of British diets and the adoption of European fare during the first age of nationalism (1760-1837). Drawing on royal menus of two ethnically German kings (George III & IV), alongside middle-class recipe books from the Regency period, this project centres food within debates about Britishness and European identity. In the process, it challenges a historiography that focuses on Britain’s wars with France and disdain for Catholicism as the root of British identity, and instead demonstrates the centrality of food in the invention of national identities on both sides of the Channel. This project is a response to current debates, showing that cultural practices surrounding food have long rooted Britain firmly within Europe.

Principal Investigator: Dr Rachel Rich, Leeds Beckett University

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