A Book of the Year in the Daily Mail, Independent, The Times & Sunday Times
Finalist for the Guild of Food Writers Food Book Award 2021
‘Sharp, rich and superbly readable… Fascinating’ Sunday Times
‘Utterly delicious’ Observer
‘Superb’ ‘Book of the Week’, The Times
‘Terrific’ ‘Book of the Week’, Guardian
‘I loved it.’ Monty Don
‘A brilliant romp of a book.’ Jay Rayner
Avocado or beans on toast? Gin or claret? Nut roast or game pie? Milk in first or milk in last? And do you have tea, dinner or supper in the evening?
In this fascinating social history of food in Britain, Pen Vogler examines the origins of our eating habits and reveals how they are loaded with centuries of class prejudice. Covering such topics as fish and chips, roast beef, avocados, tripe, fish knives and the surprising origins of breakfast, Scoff reveals how in Britain we have become experts at using eating habits to make judgements about social background.
Bringing together evidence from cookbooks, literature, artworks and social records from 1066 to the present, Vogler traces the changing fortunes of the food we encounter today, and unpicks the aspirations and prejudices of the people who have shaped our cuisine for better or worse.
‘With commendable appetite and immense attention to detail Pen Vogler skewers the enduring relationship between class and food in Britain. A brilliant romp of a book that gets to the very heart of who we think we are, one delicious dish at a time.’ Jay Rayner
Scoff is an essential book about food. It unpacks the hamper of British food - not so much our spongy, milky puddings, our nursery food, our gut-busting breakfasts, but the meaning of what we eat... Astonishing to think that nobody has done this book before. -- Rachel Johnson * Air Mail * Pen Vogler is a smart, waspish guide to our national cuisine and what it tells us about ourselves. In short, sharp essays, she looks at, among other things, the class status of avocados and the revolutionary status of vegetarianism. Her chapter on the social history of tea drinking is a particular delight. * The Herald * Has much to say about centuries of Britain's past and its place in the world, and the fact that it's peppered with historical recipes makes it all the more appealing. * History Revealed * Excellent... A fun read... with some fabulous facts, tied together in an engaging and thought-provoking way. * BBC History * In Scoff, Pen shows us an insight into the background of our favourite British food traditions through the divide of class. How a poor man's food moved to the posh dinner table and how British a curry really is. Illustrated by the words of much-loved English cookery writers and novelists, and Pen's own witty style of writing, this book is an absolute gem to read. -- Regula Ysewijn With commendable appetite and immense attention to detail Pen Vogler skewers the enduring relationship between class and food in Britain. A brilliant romp of a book that gets to the very heart of who we think we are, one delicious dish at a time. -- Jay Rayner I loved it. It is a history and celebration of British food and eating habits and follows in the honourable tradition of Food in England by Dorothy Hartley, but is set in tone and content firmly in the 21st century. -- Monty Don Entertaining... Scoff shows how British people developed a very convoluted relationship to food. -- Sheila Dillon * Mail on Sunday * A terrific history, in bite-sized chunks, of how food and drink relates to social status... [Vogler] blames centuries of food snobbery for the fact that we have ended up in the topsy-turvy situation where words such as "fresh", "local", "home-made" and "healthy" signify the diet of the wealthy few, while everyone else gets to eat cake - shop-bought and ultra-processed and quite likely to kill you, in one way or another. * 'Book of the Week', Guardian * Taste in food, as Pen Vogler shows in this erudite yet lively compendium, is not just about preferred flavour, but what items in your shopping basket say about who you are or, more precisely, who you aspire to be... Scoff is full of such fascinating, intelligent dissections of familiar foods and culinary practices... Superb. * 'Book of the Week', The Times * Pen Vogler's history of food in Britain is a feast of little dishes, all of them delicious... She has wise things to say about nation, health and, especially, class, and she even finds room for one or two recipes. -- Dominic Sandbrook * 'History Books of the Year', Sunday Times * A rich, persuasive diet of social friction, anecdotes and witty observation... It's a book to make the reader both think and salivate. * Financial Times * This excellent history is full of fascinating facts about the food we eat... More tellingly, it pricks the pomposity of many of our social conventions surrounding eating. * Daily Mail * Utterly delicious... I can't remember the last time I read a food book so interesting and so lively... The range of Vogler's reading is extraordinary... She has cooked up a banquet, and everything on the table is worth tasting at least once. * Observer * Sharp, rich and superbly readable... Vogler is sensitive to language, and she wields it brilliantly herself. Bons mot jostle with the kind of truth-skewering opinions that win reputations for restaurant critics... Ultimately, Vogler reveals why we eat what we do today - and it is fascinating. * Sunday Times *
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