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This review of a book about Victorian-era London restaurants is blowing my fucking mind

lrb.co.uk/v41/n16/bee-wilson/m

(soft paywalled, use the google cache or turn off JS to read the whole thing)

So a middle class Londoner in 1905 would have had access to dishes from India, Malaysia, China, Italy, Germany, Japan - fucking chicken katsu curry! Mary Poppins could have featured Mr. Banks going out for a curry and been perfectly cromulent. Wild

"There was an overlap between vegetarianism [in London in the 1890s] and the temperance movement, and these ‘fleshless’ restaurants were often also alcohol-free, serving lemonade or fruit juices instead. "

Fucking Victorian hipsters, am I right?

"[Spiers and Pond] was overseeing 211 railway buffet and refreshment rooms selling everything from slap-up dinners to two-shilling breakfasts to cold meals of veal and ham pie or sausage rolls and hard-boiled eggs".

Hell yeah. They apparently also invented the grab-a-ticket, pay-at-the-end system still used by Katz's deli in NYC.

"The London restaurant was, and remains, largely the creation of immigrants"

This is one reason why I literally cannot understand anti-immigrant sentiment. Even if I were a cold-hearted, purely selfish hedonist, who wouldn't want to live in a city with phở and sambusas and paneer curry and sushi and jerk chicken and lasagna and tacos and...

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