The past is a relative term. It’s a time period that spans everything from the earliest recorded human history to the instant prior to this one. Those who wrote about food cover a similarly vast landscape. Reading their works gives us the ability to step back in time, as far back as the banqueting table conjured up by the quotation above, or just a generation ago. Documenting the food and eating habits of a culture constructs a window through which future generations can know what went before, and understand its influences on their own times. The further back in history we go the more likely we are to discover surprises, such as church sized pastries. Which is one of the unique delights about reading food writers of the past.
Below is a gallery of famous food writers of past times. Click on a picture to take you to detailed information about them. This information, I should mention, is largely Wikipedia and by virtue of the wiki world, is only as good as its users make it, so I can’t vouch for absolute accuracy. (But it’s a fantastic resource and deserves all our support.)
In terms of the catalogue of writers, there are more that could be included and I’ll add to the gallery as I go along. Please feel free to update me on any information that’s incorrect, out of date, or where you notice a glaring omission.
by Anne Green