A Bit About Jill
Jill is a very experienced cook who, as a member of the Roman Military Research Society, has been testing and developing ancient recipes and preparing food for cookery demonstrations, presentations and television programmes for over twenty years. Like many great cooks she is self-taught but honed her skills catering for the men and women of both the United States Air Force and the British Army. Today it’s mostly the “Roman army” that benefits.
Most weekends throughout the summer you will find Jill at events across Great Britain, and sometimes in Europe, hosting practical cookery demonstrations aimed at educating both experienced cooks looking for new inspiration and complete beginners, all of whom may be surprised to discover how little has changed over 4,500 years.
Using reproduction utensils and equipment, on wood or charcoal fires, Jill’s demonstrations prepare and cook the foods and recipes known to us from historical sources or, in pre-history, the foods known to be available from current archaeological evidence.
Never an easy task at outdoor locations, Jill still manages to produce many and varied dishes drawn directly or inspired by history’s gastronomes. Her recipes are easy-to-follow, straightforward and as historically accurate as possible. Some are tailored for a modern audience, but all can be found on Tastes Of History’s Blog.
Having completed an Open University degree in history, with an emphasis on the Classics, Jill now spends most of her spare time researching all aspects relating to historical cuisine from her family home in North Staffordshire. Indeed, her knowledge on food production in the Roman world, for example, matches her extensive library on subjects as diverse as agriculture, food production, animal husbandry, trade and commerce. She enjoys cultivating some of the more unusual herbs for both culinary and medicinal purposes - herbs that respectable cooks throughout history would be very familiar. Jill has recently undertaken projects to dye cloth using natural plants to recreate more authentic reproduction costumes that she then wears for her cookery demonstrations.
A Bit About Mark
Mark spent 24 years in the British Army playing soldier. He never did grow up...so now he indulges his passion for history, especially military history, as the long-standing chairman of the Roman Military Research Society, and member of The Hoplite Association.
Most weekends throughout the summer Mark can be found at events across Great Britain, and sometimes in Europe, portraying a “Roman Centurion” or a “Greek hoplite”. An enthusiast for history, Mark, his wife Jill, and their friends love researching and performing practical experiments to re-create, as accurately as possible, Greco-Roman military and civil life.
Mark also enjoys the challenges of supporting educational and outreach projects, for adults and children alike. His day job is delivering fun, interactive workshops in schools supporting the KS1 and KS2 history curriculum. Alongside this, he also consults and works with TV and media companies on historical themed productions, delivers lectures and presentations, and, of course, Tastes Of History’s living history displays.
Mark is often busy making the sets and props that Tastes Of History uses; everything from a Neolithic firebox to a Roman “fast food” shop to a complete Victorian/Edwardian family kitchen.
Having built a small medieval trebuchet, for throwing bean bags at a model castle in schools(!), Mark has his sights set on making other similar siege engines...may be a cannon.