‘This is a wholly pleasing book, which offers a tasty side dish to anyone exploring the narrative history of the British Empire’, Max Hastings, Sunday Times
The glamorous daughter of an African chief shares a pineapple with a slave trader… Surveyors in British Columbia eat tinned Australian rabbit… Diamond prospectors in Guyana prepare an iguana curry…
In twenty meals The Hungry Empire tells the story of how the British created a global network of commerce and trade in foodstuffs that moved people and plants from one continent to another, re-shaping landscapes and culinary tastes.
To be British was to eat the world.The Empire allowed Britain to harness the globe’s edible resources from cod fish and salt beef to spices, tea and sugar. By the twentieth century the wheat to make the working man’s loaf of bread was supplied by Canada and his Sunday leg of lamb had been fattened on New Zealand’s grasslands.
Lizzie Collingham takes us on a wide-ranging culinary journey, charting the rise of sugar to its dominant position in our diets and locating the origins of the food industry in the imperial trade in provisions. Her innovative approach brings a fresh perspective to the making of the Empire, uncovering its decisive role in the shaping of the modern diet and revealing how virtually every meal we eat still contains a taste of empire.