Rachel Rich got her BA in history from McGill University in Canada, before moving to the UK where she studied for an MA and PhD at the University of Essex. Rachel taught at the University of Manchester and Aberystwyth University before coming to Leeds Beckett University in 2010. Rachel’s teaching and research interests are in the cultural history of modern Europe, as well as in the history of food and eating habits. She is a member of the editorial boards of Women’s History, and Food & History, and sits on the steering committee of the Women’s History Network.
Rachel has published in the history of food and eating, including a Manchester University Press monograph Bourgeois Consumption: Food, Space and Identity in London and Paris, 1850-1914 (2011). Recently, she has turned her attention to the history of timekeeping practices in modern Europe, looking at clock ownership, women’s diaries, and cookbooks for what they can tell us about how people thought about and organized their time. Her most recent publication in this area appeared in Cultural and Social History in 2015.
Rachel Rich’s research on the cultural history of food and eating habits in modern Europe focused on how class and gender shaped expectations about who would eat what, with whom, where and when. In Bourgeois Consumption she compared the prescriptions about doctors, architects, interior decorators and etiquette writers, with first-hand evidence of how and where people actually ate, according to the evidence of their own letters and diaries. She highlighted four locations—the home, the restaurant, clubs and banquets—to argue for the emergence of a specifically middle-class set of manners and values, which informed their eating habits and shaped their daily lives. In her current research, Rachel explores the cultural history of timekeeping practices, looking in particular at women and domesticity, and the various ways that women kept track of time both inside the house and out.