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Gastro-modernismFood, Literature, Culture$
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Derek Gladwin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781942954682

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781942954682.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 11 May 2021

From “Squalid Food” to “Proper Cuisine”

From “Squalid Food” to “Proper Cuisine”

Food and Fare in the Work of T. S. Eliot1

(p.165) Chapter Ten From “Squalid Food” to “Proper Cuisine”

Jeremy Diaper

Liverpool University Press

This chapter establishes that T. S. Eliot had a prolonged interest in issues of food, health and nutrition. Through a close consideration of Eliot’s multifarious references to food in his poetry, plays and social criticism, it highlights that Eliot was in close sympathy with the predominant ideas of the British organic movement in the 1930s-50s, from the nutritional benefits of fresh organic produce to the importance of proper culinary skills. By analyzing Eliot’s oeuvre in relation to the extensive allusions to food and fare it also illustrates that Eliot’s attitudes ranged from a playful engagement with cooking in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, to the more putrid and pernicious connotations seen in “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” and Sweeney Agonistes. Ultimately, whilst this chapter acknowledges that Eliot’s devotion to the spiritual sustenance of the Eucharist transcended the tellurian concerns of food, it emphasizes that he still perceived an important connection between nutrition and spiritual well-being.

Keywords:   T.S. Eliot, nutrition, cooking, organic farming, cuisine, health

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