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The River Cottage Cookbook [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Oct 2003

More than just a collection of Hugh's recipes, this book is a witty, practical guide to the River Cottage lifestyle from Channel 4's iconoclastic back-to-basics chef. Includes tips on how best to buy organic produce and, for the more adventurous, advice on rearing your own meat, growing your own vegetables, and tapping into the free wild harvest.

‘How much of this book you incorporate into your life is up to you. But if all you do is grow a few herbs in a window box, make nettle soup once a year, and try a free-range goose for Christmas instead of a frozen turkey, you will already, I hope, be enjoying your life more.’ Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

With over one hundred recipes and Simon Wheeler’s acclaimed photography, The River Cottage Cookbook has been a hugely influential and original book, appealing to all downshifters and those who prefer their food to be full-blooded and wholesome.

The River Cottage Cookbook has won the Andre Simon Food Book of the Year Award, the Guild of Food Writers’ Michael Smith Award and the Glenfiddich Trophy and Food Book of the Year.

Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; New Ed edition (6 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007164092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007164097
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a writer, broadcaster and campaigner. His series for Channel 4 have earned him a huge popular following, while his River Cottage books have collected multiple awards including the Glenfiddich Trophy (twice), the Andre Simon Food Book of the Year (three times), the Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food award at the Guild of Food Writers and, in the US, the James Beard Cookbook of the Year. Hugh lives in Devon with his family.

(Photo credit: Tom Beard)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Ordinarily the word "lifestyle" is more likely to be applied to slender magazine articles puffing lofts full of Eames furniture rather than books about smallholdings in Dorset. The River Cottage Cookbook, however, is a hefty 450 pages of pure, gumbooted rural lifestyle; and one could not wish it shorter. Cook, broadcaster and food-writer-at-large Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been ensconced at River Cottage for a number of years, cultivating his vegetable garden, raising chickens, pigs and even cattle for his table and taking occasional potshots at the local wildlife. His achievements have been chronicled on television; now they appear between hard covers.

Although it calls itself a cookbook and does contain a large number of fine recipes, the book's scope is much broader. Really, this is more like one of those "Enquire Within on Everything" volumes 19th-century settlers used to take to the outback with them, full of instructions for mixing whitewash, worming dogs and making a bag pudding. Starting with vegetables, proceeding to livestock and fish (River Cottage does indeed have a river and is only five miles from the sea) and concluding with the wild food, floral and faunal, of the hedgerow, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall explains how he grows, gathers, kills and cooks his own food.

There is a lot of information here, and a lot of hard reality, too: he is very clear and forthright about the place of death in this kind of life. But then this is a very clear and forthright book overall, a very engaging and really quite inspirational manual of how to live the country life so many of us dream about. It's well-illustrated, too, with Simon Wheeler's fine photographs of Hugh at work chasing chickens, skinning eels, carrying piglets and so on. The food in the River Cottage kitchen looks wonderful, too, though the photo of a cod-head glaring resentfully from under a beehive of parsley in a stock pot carries many more resonances than it is possible to summarise here. --Robin Davidson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“As good for the armchair as it is in the kitchen, even worth packing for reference outdoors.”
– Tom Jaine, The Guardian

“Hugh’s take on food is charming and refreshingly earthy. How can one refuse?”
– Rick Stein

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb down-to-earth guide to your food life 29 Dec 2001
a fantastic book describing all the best (and some of the worst) parts of natural food production. hugh's passion for natural food flies from every page of this book. hugh does a magnificent job of explaining why people hunt,shoot and fish, and gives great recipes for how to deal with the products of these sports. a truly great cookbook, and a highly practical guide to most things!!
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Replace your hostas with cabages! 27 Jan 2001
Having loved the television series this book was a great read. It's not just a cook book but full of advice on how to be more selective about the quality of food you put on your table. After the introduction I was ready to dig up my hostas and plant cabages and maybe even invest in a chicken or two. The book doesn't preach about organic foods and vegetarianism but instead offers advice to those who object to the way farm animals are reared and tells them to get their own or buy from reputable butchers or farmers markets. The stories are amusing, he admits his faliures as well as sucesses. It's enough to make you want to move to Dorset, if it weren't for the fact that he and Harbour Lights have caused it to become a desirable county for more than just the retired, and house prices have rocketed. I think that we can all, with the help of this book, aim for a slightly better way of living. Oh and the recipies are excellent, if sometimes a little strange.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read for the gardening gastronome 15 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This book is set to become a classic.Only two other books, in my opinion, rank in the same catogry. John Seymour`s "complete book of self suffciency" and Monty Don`s "Fork to Fork". Hugh Fernly Whittingstall provides the often overlooked conection between the food on our plates and its origins and process. His opinions reflect the reality of the production process, casting aside the blinkered view of the average supermarket shopper. He also opens up and explores the endless possibilities that lie, freely avialable, on our own doorstep. From cultivation to cookery Hugh`s enthusiasim leaps from the page. So, when is the sequel ?
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars have not been able to put it down 13 Aug 2001
Already having a pasion for growing and collecting food from the countryside, I have found this book to be not only a great source of information but a fantastic read too! Putting down only to go looking for food in the hedge row or to create one of the many excellent receipes. Well worth buying at a great price.
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94 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, inspiring, totally unpretentious 10 May 2002
As a supermarket-shopping, restaurant loving, born and bred Londoner, I did not buy this book out of any mis-placed romantic notions about self-sufficiency and country living, but because of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who is the best TV presenter on the subjects of food and people I've ever seen, and who turns out to be just as good a writer. His complete lack of pretension,his intelligence, his personal passion for his subject and his immunity to crowd-pleasing or 'style' make him inspiring, trustworthy and hugely likeable. This book will not persuade me to abandon urban life, but it has made me think deeply about the food chain, and motivated me to shop better, cook more and relish real food. This is a practical and sensual treat, and an absorbing and rewarding read.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Expensive Book In The World 11 Sep 2002
I was given this book. It cost me nothing.
And since then, I've bought chickens, a cow, pigs, a polytunnel, crayfish traps, built Feather Hamlets, eaten better than ever before, understood where my food comes from, been able to rationalise my dislike of supermarkets, got drunk on homemade wine and still been able to eat a Saturday night kebab without fretting.
Whereever you stand on food and it's production, this book can offer you something. Down to earth advice, a handful of recipes, a sense of fun, and lots of practical help and enthusiasm.
It doesn't tell you how to make a perfect beef casserole, but it will tell you how to choose a perfect cow, keep her happy, breed from her, cross her, milk her, and butcher her in the run up to a dozen pretty fine dishes.
Has to be better than buying a clingfilm wrapped package, surely?
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you will always refer to for years to come 23 April 2001
I bought this book for my husbands birthday, but as yet he hasn't been able to get near it, as I am still reading it. Within a short space of time this book has encouraged me to do the things I have only dreamed of doing, I have now started my vegetable garden and am planning to get my first pair of pigs to rear and fatten up for the table. As well as giving you a feel good factor and explaining how you too can do the various tasks needed to provide food on the table, all practical areas are covered to help you, as well as Hugh's funny stories of problems he has had along the way. The only problem with this book is that I truely can't put it down.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tome to be reckoned with! 17 Oct 2006
By A. Kira
If you're even remotely entertaining the idea of purchasing this book for yourself, your friend or your granny, then just go ahead and click the button.

Fantastic cookbook, yes, but also so much more than that. Here is someone who finally seems to love eating as much as cooking, and the whole process honestly excites him. You can't help but get swept up in his enthusiasm.

Recipes are broken down into easy to follow pieces, which work for budding cooks as well as those with more experience. Fantastically, he also does this without being condescending in the slightest.

If there were a version of Desert Island Books, this would most certainly be on my top 5 list!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Exactly as described! Brilliant!
Published 12 days ago by Phil Titherington
5.0 out of 5 stars great book!!!
This guy can do no wrong in my eyes, AMAZING!!! Great read, great value, hard to leave down, buy it!!!!
Published 4 months ago by Melissa Hickey
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much gardening!!!
Good book if you want to become a small holder or live self sufficient! Good ideas and tips, some not practical or useable in everyday life. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sarah Daniels
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and informative
Well written and informative, but I had hoped for more recipes for the size of book, hence 4 star rating
Published 5 months ago by Neil H
5.0 out of 5 stars river cottage cook book
I found this book very informative ,and usefull, it contains good information which is clear and concise,I would recommend it.
Published 5 months ago by MR G I A
5.0 out of 5 stars A true eyes opening book!
Lovely, something actually enjoyable in your free time.
The book is not just a simple cookbook, it's also about tradition, respect for the nature and presevation of ancient... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Alessandro P
2.0 out of 5 stars This is not a recipe book
I thought I was buying a book full of good wholesome recipes. There are very few recipes in here so the book was a total waste of money for me.
Published 6 months ago by A.F.Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Bought as a Christmas gift for my father who loves River Cottage and home cooking. Has in it everything you would want and more. An essential for any bookshelf. Read more
Published 6 months ago by JessM
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks great
Bought this as a present, so have not used it myself, but it looks great, was packaged well, delivered quick and the recipient was very pleased.
Published 6 months ago by Cazzamumma
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift for Christmas
After hearing my my brother-in-laws comments on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's cookery course and how he could not afford it
the next best thing was to buy Hugh's book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mrs Carole Weaving
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