Growing up in his parents' pub, Jamie Oliver learned a lot about food and drink very early on. To say that traditional British food is where he comes from and who he is today would be an understatement. Oliver takes us on a tour of some of the most well known (food-wise) places in Britain and to the roots of various dishes.
What I Liked
The history - not only does Oliver present Great Britain to us (other countries, other cultures) through her food, but he also speaks to British cooks as well (I think). Every generation loses a little bit of history...I worry about that a lot. For example, what is more simple than roast chicken? Pretty much nothing, right? But, how many young brides or even older ones (ahem) know how to cook one...or really even considered cooking one? We all need to support our origins, our resources, our history...and that of others as well. I think Oliver has done that very nicely with Jamie Oliver's Great Britain.
The photos - I MUST have photos...and Oliver doesn't disappoint. There are color pictures throughout this coffee-table like cookbook...of dishes, foods, shops, farms, people, memorabilia, Oliver cooking and people eating.
No sassiness - the food, the tables, the linens, etc. are all simple. Even the most down to earth, non showy cook can see himself/herself serving these dishes to his/her family. There are no special dishes to buy or fancy gadgets...no magic potions or measuring tools...just food, about as natural as you can get and as corny as it sounds, served with love for his country as well as his culture.
The tidbits - did you know "fish and chips" did not become an English dish until the 1800s when Jewish immigrants introduced it?
Dipping soldiers - little "sticks" of bread, toasted or cheesied up for dipping in soups...squeeeee!
The entire section on asparagus :)
Recipes for: Fresh Tomato Soup, Apple and Watercress Salad, Big Beefy Tomato Salad, Crunchy Allotment Salad, Epic Roast Chicken Salad, Aristocrat's Salad (made popular by Queen Catherine of Aragon), Rainbow Jam Tarts, Queen Victoria Sponge, Walnut & Banana Loaf, Worcestershire Beef Sarnie, Seared Peppered Steak, Killer Green Beans, Baked Creamed Spinach, Chocolate Orange Steamed Pud, Quick Horseradish Sauce, Marvelous Mustards, Glorious Flavored Vinegars, Homemade Mayonnaise, Flavored Gin & Vodka.
Sustainability issues specifically when discussing seafood - "As long as your buying stuff that's responsibly sourced you're doing absolutely just fine."
What I Didn't Like
Black Pudding - and anything that touches it. Oliver tries to persuade those of us who "dismiss black pudding" to give it a try...I did. Still don't like it :( You can google it if you want to...I'm not going to talk about it anymore.
No clue what a "rasher of bacon" is :( I'm sure it's nothing I NEED to know...I just can't stand it that I don't know it.
The breakfasts - this is a personal weirdness for me...I had trouble in Ireland as well...give me some eggs and bacon and I'm good...baked beans are for barbeques, people :p
Recipes for: Mighty Mulligatawny (not a curry fan), Happy Fish Pie (specially not one with a fish tail sticking out of it), Easy Essex Haggis, Steak & Kidney Pudding, recipes with lamb, Crackled Pork Belly, 12-Hour Rabbit Bolognese.
Many of us cookbook collectors are really hard to please...we've seen it all and a slapped together, list of ingredients and boring page after page of recipes just won't cut it anymore. This ain't that, people. Not even close. Foodies, history lovers, nature lovers...or those of us who appreciate it all, will love this book, which is so much more than a cookbook. The only folks I'm pretty sure won't really care for this cookbook are vegetarians.