Once upon a time there was a Britain where cakes and ale were considered nutritious and healthy. Late Victorian and Edwardian fleshy figures were further fattened with rich fruit loaf, and ailing ladies imbibed milk stout as a tonic. These were pleasures brought by a new industrial age and the mass-production of food and drink. Cakes and Ale is a cultural history of a turn-of-the-century era of feasting, when the first domestic goddesses began cooking in their own kitchens but servants were still on hand for many to mix drinks at glamorous parties. An affluent and leisured new middle class was keen to impress, and working people could enjoy an unprecedented variety of foods and drinks. Manufacturers responded with the glorious printed advertisements and seductive images that illustrate this book and speak volumes about the contemporary social scene. In whisky and beer advertisements gentlemen sport top hats and working me flat caps, Scotsmen always wear kilts and butlers a wily smile. Blazoned alongside them are the play-on-words that amused and persuaded their audiences. Cookery books were suddenly widely available, with pictures of bowls of punch, crusty pork pies and towering jellies and blancmanges to emulate for seasonal meals. We are what we eat - and drink - and always were.