With its 8.3 million occupants, London is a bustling and diverse metropolis characterized by rich histories of socioeconomic change and multiculture. The abundance of smells and tastes which can be experienced in the city are integral to understanding both its history and the reality of London’s urban present. From the fiery chillies sold by street grocers which are linked to years of cultural exchange, through ‘cuisines of origin’ like jellied eels to hybridized dishes such as the chicken katsu wrap, sensory experiences are key to understanding the complex cultural genealogies of the city and its social life.
In this fascinating book, Alex Rhys-Taylor offers a ground-breaking sensory ethnography of East London. Drawing on a multicultural context in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, he explores concepts such as gentrification, class antagonism, new ethnicities and globalization. Each of the eight chapters combines micro histories of ingredients such as fried chicken, bush-meat, and curry sauce with narratives from individuals, providing a unique, engaging account of the evolution of taste and culture through time and space.