Food & Drink

Restaurants went mainstream in the 19th century, but the boom in places to dine out brought unexpected perils – menu anxiety, excessive table talk and ‘strange ladies’ among them.

A child carrying a panettone in Milan, 20 December 1958.

Rich enough to appeal to lords and dukes, the success of panettone is down to its festive, egalitarian simplicity.

Advertisement for Marshall’s curry powder, 1899.

The long, often troubled relationship between Britain and India has led to some extraordinary cross-cultural innovations in cuisine.

Stock in trade: an advertisement for pot-au-feu beef cubes, illustration by Severo Pozzati (Sepo), 1957.

The story of the ‘mythical centre’ of French cuisine reflects the triumphs and tribulations of its people. 

The Ice Cream Seller, Austria, 1895

Sweets made of ice or snow have been with us for millennia, evolving slowly into the modern chilly treat.

Don Cossacks in army uniform wait in line for borscht, 2006.

A staple of Russia and the Slavic world, borscht has inspired films and novels – and has even reached outer space.

Fast food outlet: a Neapolitan pizza seller, 19th century.

The world’s most popular fast food has ancient roots, but it was a royal seal of approval that set it on the path to global domination.

A family being served tea, c.1740 (oil on canvas), English School 18th century

The British love for 'a nice cup of tea' was carefully manipulated to promote the British Empire.

Hacienda La Fortuna. A sugar mill complex in Puerto Rico, painted by Francisco Oller in 1885

Sweet it may be, but sugar's story is a bitter one, embracing slavery, decay and obesity.