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Four Seasons Cookery Book Paperback – 30 Sep 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Paperback, 30 Sep 1999
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Product details

  • Paperback: 377 pages
  • Publisher: Grub Street; New edition edition (30 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1902304209
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902304205
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 19 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,437,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

The recipes stand the test of time and her writing is clear, concise and elegant. --Foodie magazine

Every enthusiastic cook should own a copy of Margaret Costa's classic --Telegraph Magazine

There are certain cookbooks I could never live without, and one of them is The Four Seasons Cookery Book. The Proper Puddings chapter is worth the price alone. If these classic steamed puddings don't warm you up in this weather, nothing will. --Mark Taylor, Bristol Evening Post

If you don't already own Margaret Costa's Four Seasons, I urge you to buy it. I put her on a par with the great Jane Grigson and the mighty Elizabeth David: her book is simple, seasonal, wonderfully old-school recipes. --Thomasina Miers --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Margaret Costa came to prominence by replacing Robert Carrier as the Sunday Times cookery writer, and although this was her only significant book, it's hugely influential and was named by Observer Food Monthly as recently as 2010 as one of the Top 50 Cookbooks of All Time. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book, full of sound advice. Ostensibly divided into seasons, it contains several essays on different subjects - game, cake, cold soups, baking, pancakes etc, each with a number of recipes and tips. It was published nearly 40 years ago, but remains extraordinarily relevant to the way we try to cook now. I found it reminiscent of Simon Hopkinson (indeed, it's recommended in his 'Roast Chicken...'), so if you enjoyed his books, you'll like this.

The recipes are the book's heart though. This is how British food should be - interesting, satisfying, unfussy - and not substituting novelty for taste.
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By Marand TOP 100 REVIEWER on 2 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
I first heard about this book through the bibliographies in many of my favourite cookery books. It comes recommended by the likes of Nigel Slater, Simon Hopkinson & Nigella Lawson among others. Although in one sense the book, first written in 1970, is old-fashioned, it also chimes with current thinking about seasonal cookery. There are a few recipes that take me back to my parents' 1970's dinner parties and buffets - vichyssoise, borscht, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, crepes suzette, green eggs, mushrooms a la grecque, chicken & pineapple salad, orange snow cake, a recipe for liver with Dubonnet - but the recipes are still fresh today.

Preparation is generally straightforward with excellent instructions, and very useful variations, so much so that this would be a good book for an inexperienced cook. The one thing that is noticeable is that it doesn't involve some of the appliances that many of us take for granted now - things like ice-creams makers, food processors, etc..

The book is organised on a seasonal basis, so spring includes, for example, scallops; salmon in various permutations; a lovely dish of cod steaks with a herb stuffing topped with mustard & cheese; asparagus; new potatoes. Summer offers a variety of chilled soups (including an especially lovely summer tomato soup), salads, crab dishes, chicken (for example honeyed chicken, parmesan oven-fried chicken), peaches (peach cream pie, baked stuffed peaches, peaches in wine), lots of jams. Autumn brings mushrooms - risotto, stuffed, fritters; a selection of tarts & flans; a section on offal; then game (grouse, pheasant, partridge, hare, rabbit, duck); lots of things to do with apples (including a delicious caramel apple pudding & Swedish apple tart), plums & damsons.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a truly delightful and warm cookbook. It doesn't have glossy pictures but it has everything else - excellent seasonal menus, a variety of recipes for each season, a sensible approach to home cookery and above all a deep sense of intimacy. It's an odd thing I know to say about a cook book but this is like sitting down with a friend who is sharing a series of discoveries with you, it is a deeply personal experience. The book is broken into seasonal sections and allows you both to dip into individual recipes or explore, whether looking" awful offal"or " winter warmers" it is a true reflection of good wholesome cooking.

This is everything that some modern cookbooks ( compare it to Janny De Moors Dutch Cooking and some of the so called national cuisine series) are not. It is a book that you will keep with you, that will grow old with you and you want to let it go. It's the best cookbook in a long time. Thanks Margaret and thanks to those who managed to get re-issued some of us have been searching for this for a while
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Format: Paperback
This book brings us back to the sound principles of good seasonal cookery. Her recipes remind me of the food from when I was young and we were ate what there was in the vegetable patch. I have yet to find one I don't like and would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fine food.
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By A Customer on 14 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was out of print for many years and second hand copies were like gold dust. Read the recipes and you will see that the late Margaret Costa was 30 years ahead of her time . The recipe for scallop and artichoke soup is worth the price of the book alone.
Shame about the rather lurid green cover but one of the core classics of any kitchen library
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Format: Hardcover
This book taught me to cook back in the 70's and I still use the receipes ... so much so my original paperback has fallen apart at last so time for a new version. The hardback is excellent and I recommend it to anyone. Margaret Costa much ahead of her time and reflects the themes many of the new chefs today follow - fresh local food in season is best.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since first submitting this review, I have found an error in the Index. The entry for Belgian Bun Cake cross-referenced under Cake should list page 318 rather than 218. The main entry for the cake gives the correct page. Proof-reading an index is a tedious but simple job to do. In these days of ebooks it would easy to write a Perl script to do it for you. Where one error exists, there will most likely be more - no fault with the book, just sloppy publishing. This shouldn't put you off buying this edition, but it does reduce its rating from 5 to 4 stars. Now, to the review!

Make no mistake, as Simon Hopkinson says, this book is "A seminal work ... Costa's food writing is up there with the greatest." But, not only is it a great cookbook, but it also serves as a more than useful historical/political document, and is, as they say - a jolly good read! Published in 1970, this book documents the full horror of British cooking before we joined the EU. Not, I hasten to add, that Costa's cooking reflects this horror, but she was one of a few crying in the wilderness. So, we learn, for example, that it was not unusual to make a dressing for salad using malt vinegar. Now, malt vinegar has its place; but not as a companion to olive oil - no matter how poor the quality of the oil. When politicians assert how much better off we would be outside the EU, it is good to be reminded that being part of the European family brought about an almost instant transformation in British cuisine and exerted an enormous influence on the quality and variety of food that we now take for granted.

Let's get one thing straight; the book won't suit everyone. If you like lots of pictures then it's not for you - there are none!
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