Note: This blog has been on hiatus since late 2013. That thing called life got in the way, and two rather time consuming activities took over: finishing a thesis and having a baby. One day, when I finally finish my PhD, and when me daughter is a little less, er, underfoot, I hope I can start things up again. In the meantime, please enjoy my blog as an archive, there’s quite a bit to explore. 

Gastronomy Archaeology is a food history blog focussing on Renaissance food and cookery. I’ve been interested in Early Modern food for some time now, it was the focus of a term paper and a dissertation during my MA studies, and consumption is now focus of my PhD studies. More information on my research can be found at my Sussex University page.

I actually started the blog when I found myself “between degrees”, having finished my MA but not yet having secured funding for my PhD. It seemed unlikely at one point that I would be able to continue my studies so I started the blog as a way to indulge my passion for the subject. Now I’m studying again I often come across references to food that I’d like to explore further but that doesn’t quite fit with my main thesis research, and this provides me with a place to write about it.

I usually cover each type of food over two posts. The first one looks at the background and history of the food, looking at plays, poetry, etymology, herbals, dietary regimens and other sources from the period. In the second post I make, or attempt to make, a related dish from an Early Modern recipe. If it goes well, I’ll post a recipe so readers can try it out themselves. There is a wealth of excellent information online about Renaissance recipes and Early Modern cookery, I hope that through my culinary adventures I have something to contribute to it.


10 responses to “About

  1. Hi, love your site I am now signed in. can you add me to your blog as a link? colonialtable.com


    Sandra Tarbox

  2. Hi Sandra, thanks for your comment! Just had a look at your site, it’s great. I shall definitely add a link.

  3. Hi there,

    It’s funny, but we both have the same first name, we’re both doing a Phd at the university of Sussex and we’re both doing it in early modern literature and culture. I also did my MA at Sussex. I love your blog. My blog is on the period before Shakespeare, and it’s called Pre-Elizabethan England.http://pre-elizabethanengland.blogspot.co.uk/
    I’ve been on an intermission for a year now due to ill health, but I should finish my thesis in a few months. My research is on the concept of evil in Reformation English literature, exploring specifically the polemical application of ‘evil’ during the reigns of 4 Tudor monarchs,.I understand that yours is on food? One of my hobbies is cooking, so I’m really enjoying your blog. I just signed in as a follower of your blog, so I’m looking forward to reading more of your recipes.
    Maria (known on Twitter as Mary Pery).

    • Hi Maria! How strange that we’ve never met. Is Margaret your supervisor? I think she’s mentioned you. Your blog looks really interesting, I’m looking forward to reading it. My main research isn’t really on food, it’s more on collection and cultural consumption with specific reference to a collection of printed quartos at Petworth House – there’s some stuff about it on the CEMMS page here (http://www.sussex.ac.uk/english/people/peoplelists/person/161577). I find the food stuff really interesting though so I started this blog as a little side project.

      Do you ever come to campus for the CEMMS talks? If so, I might see you there!

      Good luck with finishing your thesis


      • Hi again,

        Yes, Margaret is my long suffering supervisor. I think she’s had enough of me since I’ve had many problems preventing me from completing my thesis: 3 kids, ill health and losing motivation after so many years of research. I’m part-time because of my family commitments, so I’m taking far too long completing. Everyone I started with have finished and moved on by now. But I’m almost there, and will be glad to get it over and done with.

        I stopped going to the uni a long time ago (about a year). After spending 2 years doing the MA then 7 years on the Phd, I feel awkward and uncomfortable turning up and attending things there. I only access the library and see Margaret when she summons me. I used to attend everything – seminars, CEMMS with Matt, visiting professors’ lectures, conferences etc. Now I prefer to stay at home and work when I get the chance.

        I heard about you from my friend Vicky (she finished her thesis last year). You’re doing extremely well and your Petworth work sounds fascinating. I look forward to reading your work in the future.

        Keep up the good work with your blog.


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