Whilst researching at the National Library of Wales I came across this book from 1842 (1819): “A practical treatise on breeding, rearing, and fattening all kinds of domestic poultry, pheasants, pigeons, and rabbits” by John Lawrence who was around from 1753 until 1839. At the back of the volume there was a quite in-depth section about cider-making which revealed this interesting attitude toward “London Cider”:
“The bottled cider of London is, in great measure, an artificial compound, and no more to be compared to genuine cider, when properly made, than elder wine can be set in competition with real Madeira or Port”
(from page 348)
this outspoken diss of bottled cider is high praise indeed for the farmyard brew! But perhaps what is more interesting is how the notion of what is inauthentic, and ‘artificial’, is being keenly expressed in the early nineteenth-century using a dichotomy between the country and city. Incidentally, this is also the name of a book by Domingos et. al. that presents ethnographic case studies where this idea is explored: “Food Between the Country and the City: ethnographies of a changing global foodscape” (2014: Bloomsbury).
3 responses to ““London Cider”- an inauthentic compound?”
As a London cider maker, really interested to find out more! What page are you referencing in this doc??
It’s page 348 – you can look it up on google books. If you cut and paste the quote from the blog into google search, the book should pop up as the first option. Thanks for your comment!
Thanks for your reply, Simon, I would love to hear more about your cider-making. The thing with this source is that when they refer to “London Cider” I think what they mean is bottled cider drunk in the cities; London is symbolic for this. To me the reference in the book conjures up the raucous, toothless gin-swilling Londoners from Oliver Twist. I think nowadays people are more likely to associate London with all things classy and sophisticated!