Diane Purkiss to Speak on British Food

Media contact: Brent Wasser, [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 12, 2013—Diane Purkiss, a historian and fellow in English at Keble College in Oxford, will speak at Williams College on Thursday, Feb. 28. The talk, titled “The Most Underrated Food in Europe, or Eating Well in England,” will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3. The talk will include a tasting of iconic British cheeses and is free and open to the public.

In her talk, Purkiss will offer a glance at English restaurant and domestic menus from the Middle Ages to the present. Her talk will demonstrate that while English food is particularly dependent on external forces due to the nation’s small size and heavy urbanization, it can be and has been truly local, artisanal food of the type prized by modern foodies. She will discuss the example of English cheeses, which have artisanal and farmhouse roots, yet were almost destroyed by post-war governments intent on health.

She also recently published two books on the English Civil War. While her current research centers on the history of food in Britain and how it is affected by everything else, Purkiss has an ongoing interest in early modern witchcraft and is working on a project in that area. She and her son Michael also publish children’s books under the name Tobias Druitt. Purkiss writes reviews for British publications such as the Telegraph and the Guardian, and she appears frequently on BBC Radio 4’s “Woman’s Hour” and BBC TV.

Purkiss received her B.A. from the University of Queensland and her D.Phil. from the University of Oxford.

The event is sponsored by the Sustainable Food & Agriculture Program, college council, committee for undergraduate life, the lecture committee, history department, and the dean’s office.


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