Food in England: The Lost World of Dorothy Hartley

Food in England: The Lost World of Dorothy Hartley


“Ooo, look at his teeth! Look at his brain!” squeals Dr Lucy Worsley. The intrepid historian is sawing open a pig’s head to make jellied brawn. Also on the menu are stargazy pie, Yorkshire oatcakes and a suet pudding. The recipes are all from Dorothy Hartley’s 1954 book Food in England, which lovingly documents the age-old farming practices and fodder that filled our ancestors’ bellies.

To find out more about the woman behind this tome, Worsley gets stuck into the fine detail, even trying her hand at sheep-shearing. When it comes to the jellied brawn, she bites off more than she can chew.


Historian Lucy Worsley charts the story of the writer, whose 1954 book Food in England documented the processes used by farmers and labourers to produce and prepare food. The presenter travels across England and Wales to learn more about the life of the author, and why she took such a keen interest in recording the skills and techniques prized by craftspeople and workers in a rapidly shrinking rural Britain.