From Fish Knives to Fish 'n' Chips

Babita Sharma, Ruby Tandoh, Pen Vogler and Dee Woods.

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Food, taste and class.

This is an online event hosted on the British Library platform. Bookers will be sent a link in advance giving access and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.

Do you have avocado or beans on toast? Put the milk in your tea first or last? And is your evening meal tea, dinner or supper? Come and explore how our eating habits are, and always have been, loaded with centuries of class prejudice.

With Pen Vogler, whose recent book Scoff: A History of Food and Class in Britain reveals how food and eating have long reflected and have been used to enforce social difference, joined by writer Ruby Tandoh and campaigner Dee Woods to discuss eating, culture and identity in modern Britain.

Chaired by Babita Sharma, BBC journalist and author of The Corner Shop.

Babita Sharma is a broadcaster and author. She presents across BBC News including BBC Breakfast and BBC World News, where she is the lead news anchor for Newsday. Her landmark series Dangerous Borders: A Journey Across India & Pakistan on BBC Two took her to the India/Pakistan border 70 years after Partition, where she followed in the footsteps of her family who were directly affected. Babita is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Corner Shop, charting the social history of this unsung hero of British life. Growing up above a corner shop in 1980s Britain, Babita gives a fascinating perspective of the political and economic climate during her childhood through the lens of corner shop life.

Ruby Tandoh is a writer who explores the places where food intersects with popular culture, politics, art and identity. She started as a Bake Off contestant in 2013, reaching the final. Soon after she began a baking column for The Guardian, followed by cookbooks Crumb and Flavour. With her 2018 book Eat Up!, she explored everything from the magic of fries on a night bus home to the impact of food on mental health. March 2021 brought the publication of Breaking Eggs, an audiobook that guides listeners through the foundations of baking in real-time. This will be followed in October by Cook as You Are, which will show all cooks, regardless of circumstance, how they can create magic from the most mundane of ingredients.

Pen Vogler is a food historian and author of Scoff: A History of Food and Class in Britain, described by the Sunday Times as “sharp, rich and superbly readable” and by the Observer as “utterly delicious”. She has written Dinner with Mr Darcy on food in the life and works of Jane Austen; Dinner with Dickens; and guest-curated the exhibition Food Glorious Food at the Charles Dickens Museum. She edited Penguin’s Great Food series, has written on food history for the press, and recreated recipes from the past for BBC television. She also works (not quite full time) at Penguin Books.

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 resides at the nexus of poverty and hunger, human rights, food sovereignty, community development, policy, research, climate and social justice. Dee is co-founder of Granville Community Kitchen in South Kilburn. A previous BBC Food and Farming Awards winner, Dee sits on the GLA London Food Board, the steering group of People Food Power and is a co-editor of A People's Food Policy. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at CAWR, Coventry University, member of the Food Ethics Council and the coordinating group of the Landworkers' Alliance, co-chair of the Independent Food Aid Network, (IFAN) and a trustee of Sustain.

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Name: From Fish Knives to Fish 'n' Chips
Where: British Library St Pancras
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546