The Industrial Revolution

You are what you don’t eat

If asked to think about food preservation for a moment you might picture an aproned woman boiling oranges for marmalade in a large copper maslin pan; or vegetable scraps being turned into stock; or those recipes from wartime rationing using root veg in place of sugar; or even, with an eye to the modern, you might imagine a trendy chef preparing offal in a gleaming chrome kitchen to ensure the nose-to-tail credentials of his restaurant. Some of the attempts in the past to spin out the life of fresh produce sound positively disgusting But there is more to the history of preservation than preserves, and the obvious enemy, when we

Dark days in Wales: Of Talons and Teeth, by Niall Griffiths, reviewed

This book has taken me far too long to read, and not for the usual reasons (that it’s too long, it’s rubbish, idleness, I lost it, etc.) but because I could only manage ten pages a day before getting a kind of mental nosebleed. And that is because it is so good, so different. There is a note at the back from the publishers, of whom I had not heard: ‘Repeater Books is dedicated to the creation of a new reality.’ There follows some invective about capitalist realism in historical fiction and ends: ‘We are alive and we don’t agree.’ I would say that this book fulfils their brief admirably.