In this book, Alex Rhys-Taylor offers a ground-breaking sensory ethnography of East London.
Drawing on the multicultural context of London, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, he explores concepts such as gentrification, class antagonism, new ethnicities and globalization. Rhys-Taylor shows how London is characterized by its rich history of socioeconomic change and multiculture, exploring how its smells and food 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. Each of the eight chapters combines micro histories of ingredients such as fried chicken, bush-meat and curry sauce, featuring narratives from individuals that provide a unique, engaging account of the evolution of taste and culture through time and space. With its innovative methodology, this is a highly original contribution to the fields of sensory studies, food studies, urban studies and cultural studies.