Saturday, August 3, 2013

"the Victorians", you say it like it's a bad thing

What is possibly the bane to many new, and old, costumers, food historians and just your run of the mill history enthusiast are the numerous sources of information out there that goes back to the Victorian period but is this a bad thing?

I do not really think so, not if we look at things with an open mind and consider that it isn't all that bad and not probably worse than anything published or created in the 1970's or 2010's. It isn't evil or bad and can be quite valuable, not to mention that some of it is interesting and historical in it's own right... that is, say... the Gothic Revival period for instance. Medieval stuff galore, some of it more authentic in nature, some of it less... and some leaning more towards fantasy but I still appreciate it on it's various levels. Over all, these people did preserve a lot of what may have been lost forever.

In recent history, I have come to find the opinion of someone who considered "the Victorians" taboo when it came to earlier history. This is something that I found perplexing, especially when we work backwards and upwards in trying to detect a source for a recipe being prepared or researched a particular way and find stops in the late 1800's or early 1900's or even in the 70's. This isn't bad, it's another interesting era of history just as it was interesting to see how the 15th and 16th century Italians viewed Roman history and artifacts. That is, it isn't bad when we can be open to see it how it is presented to us, for what it is and accept that while leaving the question still open.

To note, I am an avid paper collector but I don't just collect the physical thing, I have been reading countless historic texts as found on line and continue to read these as they become available. This also includes "Victorian" (and pre-/post Victorian) research on things medieval, including medieval food, keeping in mind that even historians of the time did not always agree with each other.

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