Spicing up Britain
The Multicultural History of British Food
Distributed for Reaktion Books
The last thirty years have seen immigrants flood British shores, but Spicing Up Britain reveals that foreign influences have been infusing British cuisine for the past 150 years. From the arrival of Italian ice cream vendors and German butchers in the nineteenth century to the British curry that permeates dishes today, Panayi chronicles the rich and fascinating social history behind the rise of a truly multicultural cuisine. The author argues that Britons’ eating habits have been reshaped by immigration, globalization, and increased wealth, and he explores how other cultures have woven themselves into British society through the portal of food—whether Anglo-Indian fusion dishes like chicken tikka masala, New British cuisine restaurants, or the popular home-cooked dish of spaghetti bolognese. Panayi reveals how these changes in British cuisine shed light on the role of multiculturalism in the construction of modern British identity: Britain is a diverse nation in which different peoples are united by willingness to sample the foods produced by other ethnic groups—but those ethnic groups are at the same time ghettoized by not moving beyond their own culinary traditions.
A comprehensive and engaging investigation, Spicing Up Britain serves up delicious new facets of food in Britain today.
Part I: Introduction