Bee Wilson

Bee Wilson is the author, most recently, of The Way We Eat Now. She is writing her first cookbook.

‘Give me an English one!’ Matty Robinson said after tasting her first Indian curries in Bombay in 1858. She was 29, the eldest child of a Gloucestershire rector, and had gone to India as the wife of a British army officer, her cousin. As a third-generation Anglo-Indian, she was familiar with spicy food. Her problem was that the curries in India weren’t like the unsubtle...

The white slavery narrative operated on the assumption that a true victim would never consent to go with a trafficker. But the reality was messier. The jobs available to working-class women were precarious, poorly paid and humiliating – it wasn’t difficult for slavers to present prostitution as an attractive alternative, especially since the first step was usually to seduce the woman and promise her love and adventure.

Flour Fixated

Bee Wilson, 24 September 2020

Notmany people have heard of Norman Borlaug, but his invention – the high-yield, short-straw wheat that fuelled the Green Revolution – is consumed every day by the majority of humans on the planet. Without Borlaug’s wheat, there would be no modern food as we know it. Everything from sandwiches to pizza to soy sauce to animal feed is manufactured from wheats adapted from...

I’venever mastered the art of smiling for a photo. Like many English people above a certain age, my parents had been brought up to believe that it was, if not quite bad manners, then certainly a little vulgar to smile open-mouthed, revealing any teeth. In a well-meaning way, they passed this rule on to me and my sister. As a result, my camera smile was an odd, forced thing. I worked...

In​ 1901, London was still the largest city in the world. It had a population of six and a half million, two million more than New York and five million more than Tokyo. One of the ‘biggest wonders of this glorious Metropolis’ as well as ‘one of the most strangely human sights that the world can show’, according to J.C. Woollan, was the spectacle of all these...

Schlepping around the Flowers: bees

James Meek, 4 November 2004

Not long after​ the First World War, the movie baron Samuel Goldwyn set up a stable of Eminent Authors in an attempt to give silent screenplays more literary weight. One of the recruits was the...

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