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The Epicure's Almanack: Eating and Drinking in Regency London (hardback)

Published Date:
May 2012
British Library
Bibliographic Details:
Hardback, 512 pages, 244 x 172mm, 25 black and white illustrations
Ralph Roylance
Janet Ing Freeman
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A fully annotated edition of The Epicure’s Almanack, or Guide to Good Living, a listing of more than 650 eating establishments, taverns, hotels, inns etc, in and around London, investigated and engagingly described by Ralph Rylance (1782 –1834).

Working single-handedly and on foot, Rylance visited eateries ranging from City chop houses to humble tripe shops, as well as London’s first Indian restaurant, ancient coaching inns, suburban tea gardens and dockyard taverns. He ended his book with an account of London’s markets, an inventory of merchants selling everything from anchovy sauce to kitchen ranges, and an ‘alimentary calendar’. Published in 1815, it was not updated or reprinted (and is consequently a very rare book). Indeed it was never really emulated until 1968, when the Good Food Guide to London was first issued.

This new edition is introduced by Janet Ing Freeman and contains extensive notes and indexes. Illustrated throughout with details from a contemporary map of London.

About the author
Janet Ing Freeman is an Honorary Visiting Professor at University College London. Her previous books include (jointly with Arthur Freeman) John Payne Collier: Scholarship and Forgery in the Nineteenth Century (Yale UP, 2004).

'A publishing revelation, The Epicure's Almanack of 1815 was the first London good food guide... As an excellent and readable new edition edited by Janet Ing Freeman shows, Rylance tirelessly chronicled more than 650 eating houses (the word "restaurant" was obscure in 1815) from oyster rooms to boiled beef houses, dockyard taverns to coffeehouses, ancient coaching inns to London's first Indian restaurant.'
Matthew Green, The Guardian
`London’s first good food guide, appearing at a time when the word `restaurant` had not entered common usage`
The Times

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