The Cook, the PM, his wife and their Foodways: Archival adventures concerning the Churchills and their food

16 Sep 2021
Location: Online
Start time: 17:30
End time: 19:00

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 Churchills' 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.

Annie's talk will be part of a conversation with Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College Cambridge.

Register for this free event at Eventbrite.