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The Cook, The PM, His Wife and Their Foodways: Archival adventures concerning the Churchills and their food

All day from Friday 10 September until Sunday 19 September

Presented in association with the Churchill Archives Centre.

A self-declared lover of beef and butchers’ meats, and a man who well knew the publicity value of a good meal, Winston Churchill was a keen eater, drinker and bon viveur. But the material contained in the Churchill Archives Centre is not always the best reflection of this. Join us to hear from Annie Gray, author of a recent biography of the Churchill’s longest-serving cook, as she discusses what and how the Churchills ate, and shows us some of her favourite items from the Archives.

We’ll range from exhaustingly long Edwardian menus, through to the pared-back light lunches of the Second World War. Annie will not only paint a picture of the changing dining habits of the Churchills themselves, but also reflect on wider trends within food in fashionable society. She’ll show how the Churchills (or more precisely, their cook) managed the ration (spoiler: a lot like everyone else, but with a great deal more venison and useful friends abroad), and consider the reality of their everyday eating in comparison with the image they so carefully cultivated.
We’ll also hear about the sources Annie used in writing her book: the frustrations of a sparse range of menu books, the joys of ‘Stiltongate’, and the way in which views on what’s worth curating have changed.

Dr Annie Gray is one of Britain’s leading food historians. She works as a broadcaster, author and consultant. You may have heard her on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet, or seen her cooking up Victorian pies or Tudor stuffed boars’ heads on BBC2. Her books include The Greedy Queen: eating with Victoria, Victory in the Kitchen: the life of Churchill’s Cook, and the forthcoming At Christmas We Feast: Festive Food through the Ages. Annie is also a consultant for the award-winning English Heritage YouTube series, The Victorian Way, as well as working widely across the heritage industry.

If you would like to purchase a signed/dedicated copy of ''Victory in the Kitchen' or indeed any of Annie Gray's books please email with details or telephone 01353 645005 for more information.

Image copyright: Image of Dr Gray by Kirsty Noble Photography For other images see Churchill Archives Centre

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Adults, Talk, Online, Free
Event capacity: Online