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Calf's Head and Coffee: The Golden Age of English Food

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Few would deny that British food and restaurant culture have undergone a renaissance in the past 20 years or so, but the century from 1650 marked an equally seismic change in our farming, cooking and eating habits — a true culinary enlightenment.

Stefan Gates produces some tasty 18th-century treats — John Evelyn’s “sallet” or salad is a colourful delight — but I’m not sure peeling the skin off
a calf’s head and restuffing it for a “Calf’s Head Surprise” is going to take off in today’s domestic kitchens…


Food writer Stefan Gates delves into the past to discover the origins of British cuisine, focusing on an often overlooked Golden Age, some 300 years ago. He also recreates a host of old recipes in his kitchen, from calf's head surprise to a 1699-style salad. Featuring contributions from historians Dr Annie Gray, Ivan Day and Peter Brown.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Stefan Gates
Contributor Dr Annie Gray
Contributor Ivan Day
Contributor Peter Brown
Executive Producer Rachel Boyd
Writer Stefan Gates
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Food Documentary

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