Oxbow says: This synthesis of primary and secondary sources, both literary and archaeological, on the subject of Anglo-Saxon food and drink, brings together a vast amount of data and authoritative discussion on a broad range of subjects. Ann Hagen stears away from drawing heavily on recipes as a means of revealing the types of foods, food choices and preferences in this period, to focus on the growing and harvesting of domestic and wild foods, preserving, food preparation and eating. Cereals, vegetables, herbs, fruit and nuts, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, poultry and eggs, wild animals and birds, honey, fish and molluscs, are just some of the food types discussed. Within each section Ann Hagen delves deeper to consider such subjects as the methods of harvesting and processing food, hunting and animal husbandry, attitudes towards particular types of food, accessibility to foods, diet, food shortages, diseases and what foods were considered everyday and which were reserved for special occasions. Food as payment for rents or services rendered, markets, measures, fasting and feasting, are also discussed in detail. Moving on to drink, Ann Hagen examines the types of drinks available, the context in which they were consumed - domestic, religious and in the alehouse - and the prevalence of drunkenness. In her conclusion, she draws together the evidence to reveal changes in food production and preferences from the early 5th to 11th century, drawing largely on sources from Anglo-Saxon England and the Celtic West of Britain. The role of women, the importance of bread, the social status of feasting, nutrition and changes in diet, and table manners, are just some of the many subjects covered. An excellent study and great value for money.
Anglo-Saxon Food and Drink
av Ann Hagen
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