Anyone reading my reviews knows by now that I am a practical home cook; I don't like "star" chefs, or glossy photographs every other page - what I want is information, ideas, and technique. Jane Grigson provided all these wrapped up in erudite, entertaining prose. The only pictures here are illustrative line drawings of the fruit, and each double page spread typically offers 2 - 3 recipes - giving a total of over 500 for the book. For each fruit, the recipes are preceded by a fascinating and fun history section, a discussion of varieties, and how to prepare and use them. The recipes cover all aspects of use. For example, the section on oranges includes sauces, salads, fish and fowl dishes, crepes, ices, cakes, marmalades, drinks, and more! As well as the obvious, the book covers all the exotics you are likely to come across in supermarkets such as lychee, mangosteen, carambola, persimmon, etc.. An Appendix discusses, amongst other things, mixed fruit recipes, preserves, pastry, biscuits and bread, creams, sugars, and ices.
The only competitor for this book that I know of is Nigel Slater's Tender Vol 2. But, Jane's classic is more comprehensive, covering a greater range of fruit and with more recipes. Also, having the lightness of a paperback and being so well written, Jane's Fruit Book is a great read on a long train journey! On the other hand, Nigel scores with information on growing fruit, his often unique recipe ideas, and much superior production quality - you simply can't beat hard cover and a place marker for books that will be used as much as these. My solution? Buy them both!