Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan;
Fry the pancake,
Toss the pancake—
Catch it if you can.  (Christina Rossetti, ‘Mix a pancake’)

Today is Shrove Tuesday, the day of the year on which pancakes are traditionally eaten (hence its more common name of Pancake Day). Continue reading “Pancakes”

Food and Social Status

From the groaning tables of King Arthur’s court in the fourteenth century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight through to Mrs Portman’s pea soup in Thackeray’s short story, “A Little Dinner at Timmins” , food has been used by writers as an indicator of wealth and social status.   Continue reading “Food and Social Status”


It seems strange that it’s taken me a year of blogging – and 800 years or so of English literature – to write about bread when it is such a staple food. In the Bible story of Adam and Eve, the first human beings, God punishes Adam with hard work, saying, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground” (Genesis 3: 19). Bread, the most basic of foodstuffs, will only be earned through back-breaking labour.

Continue reading “Bread”