Mark Dawson

Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
About me...

I am a historian researching and writing on the history of food and drink in the early modern period. Much that is written about the history of food uses evidence from printed sources – cookery books, dietary advice books, etc. – with the resulting concentration on the wealthy and at best generalisations (often inaccurate) about the experience of those not so fortunate. My approach is to work from the ground up, using documentary evidence of everyday life to build up a picture of what was actually going on in the households of our forebears.

About my talks...

All talks are illustrated with slides presented via Powerpoint and last for up to an hour. I have my own laptop and projector and can also provide a screen, although in practice it is usually better if the venue can provide one.

Fee:

Fee is £50 plus modest travelling expenses if further than 20 miles from my home in Chesterfield.

My Contact Details:
Phone:

07939308150

Henderson's Relish: A Question of Taste?

Public Speaker in Derbyshire Mark Dawson presents his talk Henderson's Relish.

The not so straight forward history of Sheffield’s favourite sauce. This talk looks at the obscure origins of Henderson’s in the late 19th century as one of a number of sauces designed to pep up stodgy and unappetising food. In the twentieth century, changes of ownership and struggles with adapting to a changing world could and nearly did see Henderson’s disappear, but it has survived and indeed grown in recent years and the talk concludes my asking, is it all just a matter of taste?

Food and Drink in Tudor and Stuart Derbyshire

Public Speaker Mark Dawson talks about Food and Drink in Tudor and Stuart Derbyshire

A look at the foods being eaten and patterns of dining in the county from c.1540 through to c.1700. What foods did people eat? Where did their food come from? Was the food of the county different to that elsewhere and indeed how did food differ in different parts of the county? Based largely on evidence from probate inventories, but incorporating other sources to present a picture of everyday eating and drinking for ordinary people in Derbyshire in Tudor and Stuart times.

Food and Drink in Tudor and Stuart Nottinghamshire

Public Speaker Mark Dawson talks about Food and Drink in Tudor and Stuart Nottinghamshire

A look at the foods being eaten and patterns of dining in the county from c.1540 through to c.1700. What foods did people eat? Where did their food come from? Was the food of the county different to that elsewhere and indeed how did food differ in different parts of the county? Based largely on evidence from probate inventories, but incorporating other sources to present a picture of everyday eating and drinking for ordinary people in Nottinghamshire in Tudor and Stuart times.

To everything a season? Seasonality in the Tudor period.

Public Speaker Mark Dawson talks about To everything a season? Seasonality in the Tudor period.

We are encouraged today by celebrity chefs to eat food when it’s in season.  There’s a view that in the past this is what we did and certainly if you look at cookbooks from the Tudor period they advise this for their readers.  But how did the food actually change through the seasons in Tudor England?  How important were those seasonal changes in terms of diet? This talk investigates the nature and importance of changing dietary patterns through the year in Tudor England.

Oatcakes: farming and diet in North Derbyshire.

Mark Dawson Public Speaker talks about Oatcakes: farming and diet in North Derbyshire.

A couple of hundred years ago oats were just about the only cereal grain grown in large parts of north and west Derbyshire and oatcakes were what most people ate instead of bread. Thankfully, traditional Derbyshire oatcakes are still being made. This talk looks at the history of Derbyshire oatcakes from the medieval period through to the present.

What's up with ewe? A thousand years of English sheep's milk cheese.

Mark Dawson Public Speaker talks about What's up with ewe? A thousand years of English sheep's milk cheese.

A thousand years ago cheese was generally made with sheep’s milk. Now it is very much a niche product in England. This talk traces the changing fortunes of sheep’s milk cheese and seeks to explain why it fell from favour, only to be revived in recent times by artisan cheese-makers.

Mark Dawson Contact Details:
Phone:

07939308150