A history of food with added recipes. Taking things chronologically it starts with the mesolithic (yes indeedy) and brings us up to the Second world War. This is a good introduction to the subject, with sufficient detail to give a full picture but not so much as to make it turgid. The digressions are relevant and illuminating, and there are plenty of illustrations including some good ones of kitchen equipment through the ages.
The recipes however need to be taken with care. They are laid out in instruction form with modern listings of ingredients in both metric and imperial measures. Where they are taken from early cookbooks the original text sometimes accompanies; in other cases there is a bit of introductory background. Some are excellent - this is the only place I found a successful recipe for Carrageen mousse - but others look very odd indeed and I wouldn't like to eat them. There are useful descriptions of dishes we come across in old accounts; if you want to know what a "sack posset" the recipe is here, but I wouldn't want to make it unless I was engaged in historic reconstructions, in which case I would prefer a book more focused on the period in question.
A better book, though harder to get hold of, is The Cookery of England
- Ayrton, not Acton!)