Bentham Project

Jeremy Bentham's Prison Cooking: A Collection of Utilitarian Recipes

Among the vast collection of manuscripts written and composed by Jeremy Bentham are a curious, short series of papers entitled 'Panopticon - cookery, errors of present practice'.

These manuscripts form the basis of Jeremy Bentham's Prison Cooking, a brief introduction to Bentham's never-realised panopticon prison scheme which so dominated a period of his life. The manuscripts contain a series of recipes which were collected and were (seemingly) destined for the panopticon's kitchen, with the intention of providing the inmates with cheap, nourishing food.

The book features beautiful original illustrations by Jake Lamerton, and contains images, recipes, and notes from Bentham's manuscripts, which were transcribed by contributors to the award-winning Transcribe Bentham initiative

Jeremy Bentham's Prison Cooking also features a foreword by Fergus Henderson, the celebrated Michelin-starred chef and founder of the St JOHN Restaurant, an introduction by Dr Tim Causer, the co-ordinator of Transcribe Bentham, and commentary by Dr Annie Gray, food historian.

You can also watch a BBC News report in which Fergus Henderson and his team make a 'Devonshire Pie' based on the recipes, and Dr Causer talks about the manuscripts themselves and what Bentham might have been intending to do with them.

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(Jeremy Bentham's Prison Cooking was produced by Alysha Owen, DeAndra Lupu, Jennifer Timmins, Joanna O'Neill, Katarzyna Gambus, and Toluwalase Ogundipe. Publishing of the book has been generously supported by the Bentham Project and the UCL Centre for Publishing).