A Century of Food and Fiction

Ref: C2341735

What have we loved to eat, and relished reading, since 1900? We look at Edwardian excess, wartime rations, the Jazz Age, fashions in dieting, the growth of ethnic eating, the celebrity chef, food in science fiction and more! Recipe books, newspaper and magazine articles, diaries, memoirs, poetry and novels all provide fascinating evidence of the food we have loved, and loathed, over more than a century of social change.

Course aim

This course looks at the history of British food since the beginning of the twentieth century and links this aspect of social history to the written word, whether novels, poetry, diaries or mass media.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This course is suitable for anyone with an interest in reading, cooking, or social history.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Outline some changes in food provision, availability, marketing and writing between 1900 and the present day.
  • Describe ways in which writers of fiction use food - e,g. for characterisation, atmosphere, humour or satire.
  • Investigate the ways in which food has been presented in resources such as books, newspapers, magazine articles etc

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Course booklets will be provided. Recipe books (including those given with domestic appliances), family household collections, and suggested literary contributions are all most welcome.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

A Century of Food and Fiction

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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