Bentham’s Cookbook


Jeremy Bentham’s Prison Cooking is a real book. Need I say more?

The book is based on a collection of Bentham’s papers marked “Panopticon – cookery, errors of present practice” and was put together as part of the Transcribe Bentham initiative at University College London. “The book features beautiful original illustrations by Jake Lamerton, and contains images, recipes, and notes from Bentham’s manuscripts.” You can see some of it, and order it, here.

Here’s the recipe for “Soup.” (Don’t complain about the name of the dish; the ink that would have gone into printing something more descriptive is being used on fundraising materials for Oxfam.)

Bentham final 6.8.15.indd

Such a soup might provide us with “the pleasures of the taste or palate; including whatever pleasures are experienced in satisfying the appetites of hunger and thirst,” but alas, Bentham does not clarify which of the other twenty-odd types of pleasure he catalogs we can expect when partaking of this culinary endeavor.

Do pay attention to “Bentham’s Tips,” though, as you wouldn’t want to lethally overdose on copper. That would not be for the best. Unless you’re a really bad cook.

(via Phil Baker)

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