Consuming passions: Being an Historic Inquiry into Certain English Appetites
What have the ancient Romans with their orgies, the primitive Christians with their fasts and their guilt to do with the English traditions of food? Why are oysters and celery believed to be aphrodisiacs? How is eating connected to sexual desire? In this history of the English appetite, Philippa Pullar answers these questions in an amusing manner. She draws such apparently unconnected subjects as phallic worship, cannibalism, agriculture, wet-nursing, prostitution, witchcraft, magic and aphrodisiacs into a fascinating synthesis. Starting with the Romans, she charts the development of the art of cooking, drawing surprising parallels between eating habits, religion and sexual mores. She guides us through the kitchens and dining rooms of such noted gourmets as Heliogabalus, Vittelius, Dr. Johnson and Sydney Smith, into the pubs of Pepys and Lord Rochester and into the bedrooms with Frank Harris. Finally she illustrates her theme by providing recipes for long-forgotten dishes.