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Feast and FamineFood and Nutrition in Ireland 1500-1920$
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Leslie Clarkson and Margaret Crawford

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198227519

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198227519.001.0001

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From the Restoration to the Great Famine: The Food of the Middling and Upper Classes

From the Restoration to the Great Famine: The Food of the Middling and Upper Classes

(p.29) Chapter three From the Restoration to the Great Famine: The Food of the Middling and Upper Classes
Feast and Famine

L. A. Clarkson

E. Margaret Crawford

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the period from the 1660s to the 1840s during which the population grew from less than two million to eight-and-a-half million. Real incomes of the more prosperous classes were rising, especially from the 1730s. These developments, together with changes in taste, led to a diversification of diets among the better-off although the poor were coming to rely more and more on potatoes. Using household account books and contemporary descriptions, it is possible to build a picture of the consumption of meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, bread and grain, fruit, groceries, and alcohol. Rough comparisons with consumption patterns in England are made. It is argued that the middling and upper classes in Ireland ate in ways similar to their compatriots in England.

Keywords:   diets, consumption patterns, incomes, rising population, taste, account books

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