The English have long had a reputation for cooking vegetables to a mush. Lucas's book, published between the wars, attempts to change all that. After introductory chapters on diet etc, it starts in earnest with a guide to all the processes used in the dishes that follow, for example "To make a Batter for Fritters". Sections follow on hot and cold sauces, hors d'oeuvres, vegetable soups and the seasons of availability.
The main part of the book is a selection of recipes set out in alphabetical order, starting with globe artichokes and ending with yams. Yes, yams. Along the way, as well as all sorts of esoterica like Salad Burnet, there is a full range of recipes for the more usual veg - four recipes for Cauliflower Gratin alone. Then we have a chapter on mixed veg dishes, another on vegetable pastries: garnishes and salads, a nice little digression on herbs, recipes for pickles and chutneys and to round it all off, "The Signification of Vegetables Which Appear in Dreams" (to dream of pumpkins is a very bad omen). I have tried many of the recipes and found them good. They are simply laid out and assume a basic knowledge on the part of the cook, but in other ways are surprisingly modern. There is no index but the alphabetical layout makes it easy to find what you are looking for.
Whatever its historical interest, this is a book which will be useful to the modern cook and particularly to anyone who grows their own vegetables, as it assumes you will have to deal with gluts. I suspect many trendy modern cookbooks for gardeners are less practically useful, for all their glossy photos.
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