The Taste of Empire

How Britain's Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World

by Lizzie Collingham


A history of the British Empire told through twenty meals eaten around the world


In The Taste of Empire, acclaimed historian Lizzie Collingham tells the story of how the British Empire's quest for food shaped the modern world. Told through twenty meals over the course of 450 years, from the Far East to the New World, Collingham explains how Africans taught Americans how to grow rice, how the East India Company turned opium into tea, and how Americans became the best-fed people in the world. In The Taste of Empire, Collingham masterfully shows that only by examining the history of Great Britain's global food system, from sixteenth-century Newfoundland fisheries to our present-day eating habits, can we fully understand our capitalist economy and its role in making our modern diets.


  • Basic Books; October 2017
  • ISBN: 9780465093175
  • Edition: 1
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: The Taste of Empire
  • Author: Lizzie Collingham
  • Imprint: Basic Books

In The Press

"An original and thought-provoking book and for all the shocking accounts of the consequences of British appetites, a highly entertaining one."
The Times (UK)


About The Author

Lizzie Collingham is an associate fellow at the University of Warwick. The author of three books, including The Taste of War and Curry, Collingham lives in Cambridge, United Kingdom.