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pipe & tabor

A passing...

For those who haven't heard, Constance Hieatt died on December 29, 2011.

I met Constance Hieatt once, at an ACTA conference on food in the Middle Ages -- an academic field she largely created, and in which she enjoyed near-godlike status, yet remained warm, approachable, and open-minded.

The field of historical cookery is unusual in the number of non-academics, and academics from other disciplines, who participate and contribute to it. (The names Terry Nutter and David Friedman spring to mind, but the reader can doubtless fill in others.) I think Hieatt and the other leading academics in the field realized thirty or forty years ago that their books were selling largely to people in the SCA and related organizations, and it would behoove them to treat amateurs and recreational medievalists with some respect -- at any rate, that was the effect, and I think Dr. Hieatt deserves much of the credit for this welcoming, open-minded atmosphere.

As the above-linked obituary points out, she remained active in historical-cookery research to the end: one book is due to be published next month, and another is still in the editing stage (to be completed by her sister). I look forward to them.


I'm so sorry to hear it. She'll continue to reach many enthusiasts with her scholarly-yet-accessible books.