Food and Death

14 May 2014 15:30 - 16:30

Two talks by leading food historians discuss the celebratory foods used to commemorate the dead – followed by a tea break with Yorkshire buns and biscuits prepared by Peter Brears

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  • Food for all souls, Laura Mason

Observed in many places, All Souls is celebrated with particular exuberance in Mexico, where sugar is formed and coloured in fantastical shapes to commemorate the dead. Food historian Laura Mason will discuss some of the places and foods associated with this festival.

  • Funeral Teas, Peter Brears

For centuries, funerals have been celebrated with both feasts and ceremonial foods, including York funeral biscuits and buns.  Peter Brears will describe the food, and we will try samples over tea.


Laura Mason is a food historian.  Her work includes Traditional Foods of Britain(with Catherine Brown), Sugar Plums and Sherbert, a history of sugar confectionery in Britain since the Middle Ages, and Food and the Rites of Passage which explores foods customary at childbirth, marriage and death.

Peter Brears is one of Britain’s leading food historians. Formerly director of York’s Castle Museum, and for 15 years director of Leeds City Museums, he has carried out research projects at many historic venues, including Hampton Court Palace, Belvoir Castle, Petworth and Harewood House.


Research Centre for the Social Sciences, University of York


Booking Needed:

Telephone: 01904 323041


Price: FREE

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