|Index||7 reviews in total|
This tour through England's culinary history was most entertaining as
Sue Perkins and Giles Coren dressed in the clothes and ate the foods
from six periods: Elizabethan, Restoration, Regency, Victorian, Second
World War and the 1970s.
Each of the six episodes started with them getting a health check... and usually being warned that the planned diet wouldn't be very good for them. The then dressed up and took the roles of a couple living in the specific era. Much of the food looked less than appealing and such delights as boiled calf's head must have given vegetarians nightmares.
The two presenters were both very entertaining, although they are clearly not taking the roles too seriously and frequently ended up quite drunk... solely for realism of course. Over the course of the week they sample various types of food from that eaten at formal occasions by the rich to that eaten by the less well off. They were frequently joined by experts on the periods concerned and would discuss the food with them explaining what class of people would eat what foods. At the end of each episode they returned to the doctor for a second check up with results that were sometimes surprising.
While it is easy to laugh at what people ate in the past I'm sure that people will look back on what we ate now with equal amusement in the future. I hope that there is another series one day although I'm not sure what time periods they would cover.
I caught the 70's episode of this by accident, and was hooked at once.
The premise of the programme is the presenters eat foods of a certain era in history each week, and see the effect on their bodies.
The on screen partnership of Giles Coren and Sue Perkins crackles with energy,and I couldn't really imagine this working as well if it was anybody else presenting now that I've seen them doing it.
The other episodes that I have managed to see are the Regency and Restoration,but still holding out the hope of seeing the others at some stage.
In these days of trash TV, it's great to see the BBC producing a programme that is both entertaining, and educational.
What does surprise me, is the fact that you can't buy this programme on DVD, and the BBC have no plans to release it! It can't cost that much to produce a DVD of a programme that is already made, and I bet it would sell more units than some of the tripe that is released! If you haven't seen this programme, keep an eye open for any repeats, you won't be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This series finished only a couple of weeks ago and I still miss it.
Originally there was a one-off about how the Edwardians ate, shown some
time ago, and clearly some genius had the foresight to expand on the
idea. In some ways this is even better than costume drama - as a child,
I was always writing stories about historical times because I wanted
characters who lived in a time when flouncy dresses, cravats and top
hats were the latest in fashion, but where I always fell apart was not
knowing enough about how my characters might have lived.
So for someone to come up with this idea was not just informative but educational and entertaining, too. I think Sue Perkins rather enjoyed herself making this - the episode that instantly springs to mind is the one including a Victorian dinner party where she, as the crinolined lady of the house got what can only be described as hammered on all the alcohol being served. But after the entertainment for the viewers at home came some education as the makers used Sue's hungover remorse to show how a well-off lady might salve her social conscience by helping out in a soup kitchen for the poor.
True, there were some revolting things on offer - a whole boiled sheep's head served up at the dinner table could have put even me off, and I'm a committed meat eater. The Regency cheese with complimentary maggots was another great example. But everything was shown in context - each week set out as a week in the life of a Regency or World War Two or Stuart or Elizabethan or Victorian or 1970s couple might have been - and Giles and Sue were brutally honest about the effects the diets had on their digestive system, energy levels, mental state and general wellbeing.
Which must mean that old line is true - the past would be nice to visit but you wouldn't want to live there. (Except perhaps the Victorian era - it was uncanny just how similar some meals and some groceries were to what you might find in your local supermarket today.)
Caught two of the series 1 episodes completely by accident while we
were on holiday at the British south coast last summer. I was hooked
immediately and have caught one or two extra episodes after that.
I was elated to find out a second series (called "The Supersizers Eat...") is now airing on the BBC. I have now seen almost all episodes in this new series and this has only reinforced my fan status.
No expense spared (or so it seems?), lots of research (or so it seems?), very funny (definately!). Pure infotainment. Brilliant, just brilliant...
Looking around on the internet it seems the BBC seems to have no plans to get this beautiful series on the foods of Britain through the ages out on DVD. I find this simply incomprehensible. I'd buy the series in a heartbeat and cherish it as funny historical reference material.
And that's just the presenters. This show is available on Hulu now,
which for me means I would not care whether it turns up on DVD at this
point. I like the silliness of it, the comic relief between courses, so
Giles Coran seems to think he is funnier than Sue Perkins, but she is funnier than he thinks he is.
The historical insight into what people ate (and what they did not eat) is fascinating. You learn about the politics of food, too, albeit from a certain perspective. You learn how people's food habits can be self-destructive. (During the Restoration, for example, people drank to excess, ate meat but not vegetables and then wondered why they developed terrible health problems.)
The idea of forcing Ms. Perkins into wifey roles might seem sexist to some, but it reflects reality in the majority of eras and shows us what it was really like for many women. Besides, Ms. Perkins makes hilarious fun of these situations and she does sometimes cross gender lines.
This is an intriguing and enjoyable series. The attention to detail is incredible and the hosts are witty and engaging. The series that cover the earlier periods are perhaps more interesting and yet shocking for the use of offal and small animals no longer considered proper or appropriate for eating. The coverage of political, cultural and socioeconomic history is also entertaining if not always thorough, as this is entertainment after all. The one thing I find a little disturbing is how frequently Sue Perkins is put in silly subservient positions (Damsel in Distress, housewife, desperate sister looking for marriage), while Giles goes off for some amazing meal and champagne with a group of men. In the War Years for instance, Sue is left at home when there were plenty of women working--some even in Churchill's war room, I suspect. I think the producers could have been more imaginative with Sue's roles, and not leaned so heavily on sexist clichés about women of each period. It would have been a firm 9/10 for me, if this had not been the case.
I guess I am the only one who has reviewed this TV show that is not that impressed with it. It could've been more of an educational show instead of a slapstick-making fun of different foods during different eras in history. When I first saw the commercial on the Food Channel for this series..I was all excited to see how foods from different periods in history were made. But instead had to watch two people spitting out food, getting drunk and licking their fingers in some of the most posh restaurants---disgusting to me...and to their guests who were experts in historical-culinary fields! I wish another TV series would be made that took this great aspect on learning about foods served/prepared in other eras in history more seriously. The only reason I continue to watch all the episodes in this series is to make notes of the names of the foods-during the era they were served so I can research how they were made myself. Which I had hoped this series would've shown to the viewer since it is on a food-network channel. All the other part of the episodes...I am just Fast Forwarding through all the silly/slapstick 'tripe'. (No Pun Intended)
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