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Cheddar & the Cheese Industry with Peter J. Atkins
Episode 526th April 2022 • The British Food History Podcast • Neil Buttery
00:00:00 00:45:30

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Today, Neil talks with Emeritus Professor Peter J. Atkins about the history of Britain’s cheese industry. Britain had a diverse range of cheeses until cheddar came along and almost made artisan cheese extinct in the UK.

We talk about Roman and medieval cheese, the importance of women and girls to cheese and cheesemaking, Joseph Harding ‘the father of British cheddar’, cheddar in North America, Scottish cheddar, and the inevitable dumbing down of variety and flavour when food becomes industrialised.

Peter J. Atkins is a food historian and historical geographer with over 50 years of research experience. His specialization has been in perishable foods such as dairy products and he is now writing a history of British cheese. He has worked on dairy systems in South Asia and on general food history with colleagues in Europe. He is a past President of the International Commission for Research on European Food History (

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Neil’s book A Dark History of Sugar is available to preorder from the publishers with a 25% discount. It is available, of course, to preorder at all other bookshops

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Links to things mentioned in this episode:

Work published by Peter complementing this episode:

 Vabre, S., Bruegel, M. and Atkins, P.J. (Eds)(2021) Food

History: A Feast of the Senses in Europe, 1750 to the Present London: Routledge

Atkins, P.J. (2016) A History of Uncertainty: Bovine Tuberculosis in Britain, 1850 to the Present Winchester: Winchester University Press ISBN: 9781906113179

Harvey & Brockless range of British Cheeses:

Neil’s new blog post ‘The Return of Traditional Cheesemaking’ with toasted cheese recipe:

Neil on 'Table Talk' podcast with Stefan Gates via Food Matters Live:

A post about clotted (or clouted) cream from Neil’s blog:

Two more cheese recipes: Welsh Rarebit & Locket’s Savoury:

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