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Tea and cakes: elite consumption of groceries in eighteenth-century England

Stobart, J. (2010) Tea and cakes: elite consumption of groceries in eighteenth-century England. Paper presented to: European Social Science History (ESSHC) Conference, Ghent, Belgium, 12-16 April 2010. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract: Food played an important part in the material culture of English elites, not least through the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when an ever wider range of novel and exotic foods became available. Goods such as sugar and tea brought with them new social practices and new material goods through which these practices were articulated. Whilst we know a lot about the spread of these goods and material cultures through the middling sorts, less attempt has been made to assess how the elite purchased and consumed these imported groceries. This paper will explore the consumption patterns of such foods amongst a small sample of elite families. I will draw upon account books, recipe books, diaries and inventories to examine what was bought, how it was consumed and in what contexts. I argue that these novel consumables were linked to a changing material culture, but that this was interpreted by the elite in ways which allowed them to maintain their social distinction, for example through the quality of the material goods and the production of elaborate meals.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Groceries; recipe books; ingredients; consumption
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD9000 Agricultural industries > HD9011.5 Food industry and trade
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions > HC94 By region or country > HC257 Great Britain > HC260.C6 Consumerism
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > DA498 1714-1760
Creators: Stobart, Jon
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > School of Social Sciences (to 2016)
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Education & Humanities > History
Faculties > Faculty of Education & Humanities > History
Date: 16 April 2010
Date Type: Presentation
Event Title: European Social Science History (ESSHC) Conference
Event Dates: 12-16 April 2010
Event Location: Ghent, Belgium
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Unpublished
Refereed: No

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