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Life in the Victorian Kitchen (Paperback)

Culinary secrets and servants' stories

P&S History > British History > Victorian History P&S History > Social History Women of History

By Karen Foy
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 16-page plate section
ISBN: 9781783036394
Published: 2nd October 2014
Last Released: 9th June 2021



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Have you ever wondered what life was like for domestic servants, the etiquette involved during upper class banquets, or simply wished for a glimpse of day-to-day life in the Victorian kitchen?
During the nineteenth century,the kitchen was a place where culinary worlds collided, bridging the gap between social classes.

From the rural cottage to the well-staffed country house, Karen Foy takes readers on an entertaining and informative journey through a lost culinary world, uncovering the customs and traditions surrounding some of Britain's best loved dishes.

Discover nineteenth century tips, techniques, stories and superstitions. Try your hand at foretelling the future using an egg or test recipes for everything from apple wine to sheep's head pie. Step into the world of the Victorian kitchen...

This is a well-organised and thorough account of food, the kitchen, the people who cooked and all things that influenced them from 1837 to 1901. Everything is covered, from folklore about roosters (and why they are at the top of every weather vane), to the origin of the phrase Baker’s Dozen, to the impact of the Napoleonic Wars and the Potato Famine.

This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s certainly earned a place on my book shelf. Four stars.

Rear Party, RainValley

For the Victorian, food was important and Victorians consumed large meals, even in the humbler home. All of these factors are included in this excellent study, told with enthusiasm and ably illustrated by a fascinating photo plate section.


An informative guide to the Victorian home and cuisine.
From beeswax to Mrs Beeton, this offers a fascinating insight into the hub of the Victorian home, large or small.

Your Family Tree

This is a delightful visit to the Victorian kitchen as it functioned at all levels of society. Karen creates a wonderful world of no fridges or freezers, no electric or microwave ovens and no ready-meals. How on earth did the Victorians manage?
This book will prove invaluable as a backdrop to our Victorian ancestors who worked in the kitchen and in service generally. A most interesting and entertaining read.

The Cheshire Ancestor

This entertaining journey through a lost culinary world finds Karen Foy uncovering the customs and traditions behind some of Britain's best-loved dishes. Foy also delves into regional and seasonal cuisine, food from the Empire, household roles below stairs and country house gardens in the 19th century.
If your ancestors were 'in service', you may be able to put some flesh on the bones of their working lives with this.

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine
 Karen Foy

About Karen Foy

Karen Foy is a freelance writer and author. Passionate about genealogy, her first book Family History for Beginners was published in 2011 by The History Press. Her second book, Ancestors in the Attic, (2012), takes the reader on a quest to find out more about their ancestors via the ephemera, letters, diaries and collectables passed down within families. Karen's articles have appeared in numerous national and regional publications.

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