These days I write about the cultural significance of food and eating in the early-modern and modern world. Alongside my research on food history I have published many books and articles about Spanish America. Information about my research projects can be found on this page. 

Food History

I’m currently researching the history of cookery books. Before that, I wrote a ridiculously large number of things about potatoes. Beyond potatoes, I have written about a wide range of other foods – from bananas to chocolate – for both academic and non-academic publications. I speak about my food research on television, podcasts and radio (here you can listen to me discussing pineapples on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, for example) and regularly give public talks and workshops on food, cookbooks and eating.

To find out more about my research into different foods, click on the images below.


Other Research Interests

Alongside my research on food history I have published many books and articles about Spanish America The Return of the Native: Indians and Mythmaking in Spanish America, 1810-1930 uses poems, national anthems, postage stamps, and a vast range of other sources to reconstruct the sense of identity—both personal and national—expressed by Spanish American elites in the first century after independence, a time of intense focus on nation-building. Reviewers said it as a ‘tour-de-force’, which would ‘inspire a new generation of scholars and graduate students’.

Other research tried to explain the historical importance of love letters, the significance of clothing in the construction of racial categories, and a range of other topics, including the appeal of the remarkable artistic genre called the ‘casta painting’. These extraordinary paintings depict racially mixed families, and were produced in the hundreds during the eighteenth century. ‘The Pleasures of Taxonomy: Casta Paintings, Classification and Colonialism’, which appeared in the William & Mary Quarterly, was awarded several prizes.

You can find out more about my work in different areas by clicking on the links below.