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.)
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