Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The material histories of food quality and composition

Atkins, P.J.

The material histories of food quality and composition Thumbnail


P.J. Atkins


This article argues for material histories of food. In recent decades food historians have tended to emphasize the cultural factors in consumption, in addition to the already well-established social, political and economic perspectives, but what is still missing is the stuff in foodstuffs. With reference in particular to milk and wine, the suggestion here is that physical and chemical composition is a major influence in what we might call the biographies of particular items of food and drink. Product characteristics are rarely static for long and today's mass-produced bread is different from that of the past, but then so are the flour, the yeast, and the even the butter that is spread on it. Adulteration was a particularly interesting aspect of composition in the nineteenth century and was the key to the emergence of two different traditions of understanding and valuing food quality.


Atkins, P. (2011). The material histories of food quality and composition. Endeavour, 35(2-3), 74-79.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2011
Deposit Date Nov 30, 2011
Publicly Available Date Dec 12, 2012
Journal Endeavour
Print ISSN 0160-9327
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 2-3
Pages 74-79


Accepted Journal Article (223 Kb)

Copyright Statement
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Endeavour. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Endeavour, 35, 2-3, 2011, 10.1016/j.endeavour.2011.06.003

You might also like

Downloadable Citations