Presented by Ivan Day, international authority on European culinary history
Dinner at an 18th-century English country house was a spectacle for the eyes as well as the epicurean senses. Sumptuous dishes were served on elaborate silver and porcelain dishes to impress invited guests, and to underscore the status of their hosts as fashionable people of influence. The food itself was splendidly ornamental, as in a towering sugar construction, and sometimes witty and humorous, as in a trompe-l’oeil (fool-the-eye) jelly of playing cards. This lecture celebrates the opening of the exhibition English Taste: The Art of Dining in the Eighteenth Century.
Renowned British food historian Ivan Day explores the milieu and work of Elizabeth Raffald—"the Martha Stewart of her day"—whose best-selling cookbook The Experienced English Housekeeper, published in 1769, is still in print. Containing 800 original recipes that Raffald considered “useful and sufficient for any gentleman’s family,” her book also provides instruction on how to pair serving pieces with culinary creations to create the most à la mode table displays, and wonderful insights into the mores of high-status dining. A reception to meet the speaker follows the program.
This event takes place in Brown Auditiorium Theater on the main MFAH campus.
Open to the public and free with general museum admission. MFAH Members receive free admission.
The Rienzi Fall Lecture is generously funded by the Carroll Sterling and Harris Masterson III Endowment Fund for Rienzi, and the Caroline Wiess Law Endowment Fund for Rienzi.