The Archive: Alice; Food

“Even when I have time,” he wrote to Mrs. Mayhew (December 19, 1878), “I always decline luncheons. I have no appetite for a meal at that time, and you’ll perhaps sympathise with my dislike for sitting to watch others eat and drink.”*

I really don’t think you have to know much about Lewis Carroll, aka Charles Dodgson, to know that there’s some food issues going on. Basic comprehension of the Alice books will tell you. Sweets declaring “Eat me!” and unmarked bottles imploring Alice to “Drink me!”, (which she does, because she’s all about the sensible) both causing temperamental changes in size. It’s clear that food is a prominent theme and it would have been daft not to photograph that idea, and it was a great excuse to buy many bags of sweets even though I only needed one in the end….. The sugar crash was well worth it.





Not too keen on eating himself, but always made sure other’s ate, especially his young friends:

“Could you give… the 3 girls… something to eat before we go? To be very hungry lessens ones enjoyment of a play.”*

23851332614_d02de7e56a_bPerhaps the diet of biscuits throughout the year was to make space for his birthday treat!

“And what do you think I am going to have as my birthday treat?” Charles wrote. “A whole plum-pudding! It is to be about the size for four people to eat: and I shall eat it in my room, all by myself! The Doctor said he is “afraid I shall be ill”; but I simply say ‘Nonsense!'”  *

I’m not a dietitian, or a nutritionist, but I’m pretty sure that’s not a healthy approach to food.





Please don’t make any difference, for me, in your family bill or fare. Dinner parties have too many courses for me. Even our daily High Table is much more than I care for.”*

I think it’s pretty clear that Dodgson/Carroll had some complex food issues, maybe not so much due to body issues, but control. Some believed it was stemmed from neurosis, to be honest, I don’t know enough about the man to comment why, but there is a control issue here. And even in just the context of the Alice stories, food is a negative; the unstable changes in size, A Queen willing to behead people for stealing some tarts (though Jam tarts are awesome, I would be a bit pissed too), that whole incident with the pepper and a baby turning into a pig. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t put Wonderland in the Michelin Guide.


Whatever the reason for the food motifs, I hope you enjoyed the amazing use of selective colour and wild developing skills! Truly at the height of innovation here.

Bon Appetit!

ps. Hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year full of tasty treats!

*Quotes from Lewis Carroll: A Biography by By Morton N Cohen


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