Lots of drawings of desserts including a large jelly and trifle.


Cookery Book Collections

Curators from three different libraries pick out a small selection of varied cookery books from their collections.

From Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera dell'arte del cucinare (1570) to Catherine Buckton’s Food and Home Cookery (1890) and Len Deighton’s Action Cook Book (1965), this video takes a snapshot look at how cookery books have been created, used and collected through history and their relationship with wider culture.

The curators featured are from the British Library, which has one of its two sites in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, Leeds Libraries and Special Collections at the University of Leeds. The curators were brought together in a live online event that took place on 6 October 2020 as part of the British Library Food Season 2020. This video is an abridged version of that event.

Food Season supported by KitchenAid


Beyond the Bank: Creating Community and Culture through Food


Kemi Akinola is a dedicated food justice activist. She is Managing director Brixton People’s Kitchen and CEO of Be Enriched a South London-based charity that uses food to bring joy and connection to the socially excluded, develop skills in young people, build communities and grow future generations. Over the past 9 years she has grown a small community meal in Tooting into a range of community focused food projects covering South London. Kemi has mentored and advised on food start-ups and innovation projects in London, Scotland, West Virginia, USA and is a trustee of the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), the Food Partnerships of Lambeth and Wandsworth.

Mary Brennan set up Community Unity, a neighbourhood group that runs a lunch club in the Cross Green area of Leeds and created a garden on a disused railway bridge where the community can pick their own food.

Jess Thompson spent two and a half years working on the front line to support migrants and refugees in Ceuta, Morocco, at Dunkirk refugee camp in France, and in London, when discussions with refugee women at a Time Bank project in Tower Hamlets led her to set Migrateful. Migrateful helps refugees and asylum seekers on their journey to employment and independence and promotes integration. It runs cookery classes led by migrant chefs struggling to integrate and access employment due to legal and linguistic barriers. Migrateful currently runs 15 cookery classes per week taught by over 25 refugee chefs in London, Kent and Bristol.

Barny Haughton is the Founder, Director and Head Teacher at Bristol's Square Food Foundation, the not-for-profit food education school he started in 1998. Square Food is committed to teaching people from all walks of life to cook good food from scratch. Barny regularly gives talks and demonstrations at food conferences, festivals and schools and is a judge for the Soil Association's Organic Food Awards.

Food Season supported by KitchenAid


Sitopia: How Food can save the World

Food shapes everything: our bodies, habits, homes, landscapes, cities, politics and economics. It is seldom out of the news, whether it’s industrial production destroying the planet or modern diets causing a crisis in public health. But what is the potential for transforming the food system, and thereby to creating a healthy world with a healthy population?

With urban visionary Carolyn Steel, author of Hungry City and Sitopia, and food campaigner and CEO of Sustain, Kath Dalmeny.

Carolyn Steel is a leading thinker on food and cities. Her award-winning 2008 book Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives is an international best-seller and her concept of sitopia (food-place) has gained broad recognition across a wide range of fields in academia, industry and the arts.

Kath Dalmeny is chief executive of the charity Sustain and a long-serving member of the London Food Board. She is a campaigner and organiser, helping people and organisations to speak up for better food, farming and fishing. Working with what she describes as “my wonderful campaign colleagues”, Kath has been instrumental in persuading three successive Mayors of London to support thousands of community food gardens; caterers that serve one billion meals per year to serve verifiably sustainable fish; Westminster government to introduce mandatory standards for meals served in schools and hospitals; and HM Treasury to introduce a sugary drinks tax, with £0.5 billion ring-fenced to fund children’s health promotion.

Food Season supported by KitchenAid


Black British Food Stories: Origins, Journeys and Junctions

Join food writer and BBC Good Food columnist Melissa Thompson for a discussion about Black food and the politics, potential and problems it faces in Britain. With Tokunbo Koiki, founder of London Africa Food Week, Riaz Phillips, author of Belly Full and Community Comfort, and Zoe Adjonyoh, founder of Zoe's Ghana Kitchen and the Black Book, the agency for people of colour in the food industry.

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River Cottage: More Taste, Less Waste: 2020

We all know that we need to reduce food waste but in practice it’s often difficult to do. Food writer Melissa Hemsley and Gelf Alderson, Executive Chef at River Cottage, discuss the issues and demonstrate solutions for minimising food waste at home.

Melissa Hemsley is one-half of the Hemsleys, the bestselling authors of The Art of Eating Well and Good + Simple with a London café HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY at Selfridges in London. Her first solo bestseller, Eat Happy, focussed on fast, delicious 30-minute recipes for busy nights in 2018. Melissa champions fuss-free, big-flavoured food and shows how anyone can enjoying cooking affordable, healthy recipes.

Gelf Alderson is executive chef at River Cottage, and follows its food philosophy – seasonal, local, organic and wild. He says he wants the ingredients to speak for themselves and his cooking style is about using fresh, honest ingredients and not over complicating dishes. He is passionate about sustainability and reducing waste.

Food Season supported by KitchenAid


Tom Kerridge in Conversation

The closing event of the 2020 British Library Food Season, with Tom Kerridge in conversation with Angela Clutton, guest director of Food Season.

The Michelin-starred chef, bestselling author and BBC presenter talks about his life, career and the impending release of his latest book, based on recipes from the The Hand and Flowers, the first (and only) pub in the world to acquire two Michelin stars.

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Ken Hom’s ‘Stir Fried Life’ with Fuchsia Dunlop

Chef, author and presenter Ken Hom has been hugely influential in developing understanding around the world of what Chinese food really is and how to cook it. He talks to award winning food writer Fuchsia Dunlop about his remarkable life and career and the food they love.

Ken Hom OBE is a Chinese-American chef, author and television presenter for the BBC. In 2009 he was appointed honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for “services to culinary arts”. His first book on Chinese cookery techniques was published in 1981, and his Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery is the book that many still regard as the ‘bible’ for anyone who wanted to learn Chinese cuisine, and it sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide. At the time of publication, it made publishing history by being the first non-fiction book with a first printing of 350,000. In 2009, the BBC celebrate d the 25th anniversary of the book, which continues to be a top seller after more than three decades in print. He has since written 36 books and presented six television series.

Fuchsia Dunlop is a food writer and cook who specialises in Chinese cuisine, especially that of Sichuan, and was the first westerner to train as a chef at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine in Chengdu. She is the author of five books, including the autobiographical Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper. She speaks, reads and writes Chinese.

Food Season supported by KitchenAid

Feeding Our Children

The way we think and feel about food as children can dramatically influence our lifelong relationship with it. Early exposure to different tastes and textures makes a huge difference. Consider the politics and practicalities of feeding children with award winning food writer, broadcaster and chair of TastEd Bee Wilson, chef Gita Mistry, headteacher Jason O’Rourke and nutritionist Anna S Ólafsdóttir. Chaired by Sheila Dillon.

Gita Mistry, the founder of Gita Mistry Food, started her entrepreneurial career at the tender age of 13 when she invited the public to ‘Enjoy a Gita Mistry Curry in the luxury of your home'. This was before the days of home-delivery food in Bradford. She is the first Asian competitor in the UK to win a major TV cooking competition (BBC’s Britain’s Best Home Cook). The Times’s food correspondent described Gita’s food as ‘better than sex’.

Jason O’Rourke is the headteacher of Washingborough Academy, Lincolnshire. During the 10 years that he has been there, the school has gained national and international recognition for the curriculum it has developed, which puts healthy living and food education at the forefront of children’s learning. One of Jason’s first transformations when he arrived at the school was to create a children’s kitchen. It sits in the heart of the school and everything is at a child’s height. It is used to teach children cookery so that by the time they leave primary school they are able to create 10 meals.

Anna S Ólafsdóttir is Professor of Nutrition Sciences at the School of Education, University of Iceland. She has a PhD in Nutrition Science from University of Iceland and a master’s degree in the same subject from University of Vienna, Austria. Her research includes dietary behaviour in relation to weight management, body composition and lifestyle. She has researched the value of school meals and family-focused treatments for obesity.

Sheila Dillon has been a food journalist for more than three decades. She has worked on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme, first as a reporter, then producer and now presenter. In her early days on the programme she produced groundbreaking editions on BSE – mad cow disease and its connections to our desire for cheap food, the rise of GM foods, the growth of the organic movement from muck and magic to multi-million pound business, and the birth of the World Trade Organization. Recent programmes on childhood poverty, a look at the world in 2030 when Carolyn Steel, author of Sitopia, is Prime Minister, the glory of British pies, diet and cancer, and the inadequacies of medical training when doctors are faced every day with diet-induced diseases, carry on the tradition.

Food Season supported by KitchenAid


On Restaurants


Join leading chefs and restaurateurs as they discuss the politics, challenges, inequalities, changes and motivators facing dining culture and the extra pressures caused by the global pandemic. With Dr Asma Khan, whose all-women team at her acclaimed restaurant Darjeeling Express have challenged a traditionally male arena. Alongside her are Tim Anderson of Brixton’s Nanban, and Jimi Famurewa, restaurant critic for ES Magazine. Chaired by Tim Hayward.


Food Season supported by KitchenAid


Borough Market presents Trading Places: Will COVID-19 change our relationship with food forever?

Lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic have put the challenges and pressure-points of where, and how, we get our food into sharp focus. This event in partnership with Borough Market considers how consumers have access to ‘good’, ‘healthy’ or ‘cheap’ food in our mid/post COVID-19 world, and explores the role of supermarkets, local markets, community shops, delivery services, small producers and more.

With managing director at Borough Market Darren Henaghan; founding director of the Sustainable Food Trust Patrick Holden; food writer Jenny Linford and Bite Back 2030 youth activist Tasha Mhakayakora. Chaired by Food Season guest director Angela Clutton.

Darren Henaghan is Managing Director of Borough Market. Borough Market is rich with history, but it remains as relevant now as it has ever been. As London’s oldest food market, it has been serving the people of Southwark for 1,000 years, and that extraordinary heritage is an important part of its appeal.

Patrick Holden is founder and chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, an organisation working internationally to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable food systems.

Jenny Linford is a food writer and author of over 15 books including The Missing Ingredient - the Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavour, an innovative exploration of time, the 'invisible' ingredient, and The Chef's Library, featuring the favourite cookbook choices of over seventy acclaimed international chefs.

Tasha Mhakayakora is co-chair of the Bite Back 2030 Youth Board. Tasha is 18, from Lewisham and is an asylum seeker from Zimbabwe. She is passionate about changing the way we talk about obesity and creating equal opportunities for everyone to have access to healthier food options. In 2015 Tasha encouraged her school to sign up to the Sugar Smart Pledge and is keen to join Bite Back and finish what she started. Bite Back 2030 is a youth led movement who want healthy, nutritious food to be an option for every child and young person, because it matters to their health.


Food Season supported by KitchenAid


Jewish Food: Claudia Roden and Simon Schama in Conversation

Accompanying the British Library's onsite Hebrew Manuscripts exhibition, food writer Claudia Roden and historian Simon Schama draw from their research and personal experience to discuss the history, evolution and culture of Jewish food.

Chaired by Lucy Silver. Claudia Roden is a cookbook writer and anthropologist based in the UK. She grew up in Cairo and studied in both Paris and London. She has published multiple bestsellers including the international award-winning The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkandand Vilna to the Present Day.

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University; the author of 19 books including Landscape and Memory, and writer/ presenter of over 50 TV films for the BBC. His latest series, The Romantics and Us, will air on BBC2 in mid September.

Lucy Silver (Chair) was born in Glasgow and studied literature, philosophy, art history and psychology at London University. She trained and worked as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and was attached to the counselling service at UCL for ten years. She has been Co Chair of Jewish Book Week since 2011 and directed the festival from 2014 to 2018.


Food Season supported by KitchenAid


Mood Food: Jack Monroe and Kimberley Wilson

Jack Monroe has transformed debates about food, poverty, mental health and more in the UK since her breakthrough Cooking on a Bootstrap blog. Now she is one of our most popular food writers, but still offering a very personal take on modern life. Monroe talks to Kimberley Wilson, a chartered psychologist whose work looks at the role food and lifestyle plays in our mental health, including disordered eating, the gut-brain axis and our emotional relationship with food. Guardian writer Zoe Williams chairs this frank and informative event about food, diet and mental health.


Food Season supported by KitchenAid


Food Futures

Through this remarkable year, the key place of food in our lives has been put into greater prominence than ever. Supply chains and supermarkets, health and home cooking have been among our most vital concerns. With Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University London, food and farming actionist Dee Woods and Sheila Dillon of The Food Programme.

Tim Lang is Professor of Food Policy at the Centre for Food Policy at City University of London, which he founded in 1994 and directed until 2016. For the last 25 years he has researched, written and lectured on the role of policy in shaping and responding to the food system, particularly in relation to health, environment, social justice, the political economy and consumer culture.

Dee Woods is a food and farming action-ist and campaigner, who advocates for good food for all and a more just and equitable food system, challenging the systemic barriers that impact marginalised communities, farmers and food producers. Her work meets at the nexus of poverty and hunger, human rights, food sovereignty, community development, policy, research, climate and social justice.

Sheila Dillon has been a food journalist for more than three decades. She has worked on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme, first as a reporter, then producer and now presenter. In her early days on the programme she produced groundbreaking editions on BSE – mad cow disease and its connections to our desire for cheap food, the rise of GM foods, the growth of the organic movement from muck and magic to multi-million pound business, and the birth of the World Trade Organization.


Food Season supported by KitchenAid


Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: You, Food and the Planet

In a special event to launch the British Library Food Season, chef, writer and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talks about sustainability, food provenance and wellbeing with award-winning food writer Bee Wilson, filmed from the iconic River Cottage. As the new decade brings new levels of anxiety about our health – and the planet’s – Hugh wants to discuss, among other things, the importance of a good meal, a good walk and a good story. Chaired by Food Season founder and curator Polly Russell.

Food Season supported by KitchenAid


Voice in Cookery Writing: Nigella Lawson, Ella Risbridger and Bee Wilson

A recipe is so much more than a set of instructions; it is a story, an experience waiting to happen. We explore the role of voice, narrative and storytelling in cookery books with three fantastic food writers. With Nigella Lawson, Ella Risbridger and Bee Wilson.

Food Season supported by KitchenAid