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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must
The book arrived in pristine condition and in very good time.
This is a good book for all the English at large what wonderful cuisine their's is/was.
It's descriptive of their glorious past when they ruled the seven seas and sourced the best of the best.
A reminder of these days of Supermarket dominance it's subtle dictatorship in titillating the palate and...
Published 17 months ago by rgr

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A safe and effective appetite suppressant. Now available over the bookshop counter.
1) I read this only late at night, after all meals of the day had been taken, but I suspect reading it before meals would be a great aid to dieters. (Those on calorie-controlled diets living in the British Isles, though, may because of habituation find it less effective and dieters from Iceland accustomed to eating with gusto sheep's heads might experience a paradoxical...
Published 11 months ago by monica


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A safe and effective appetite suppressant. Now available over the bookshop counter., 29 May 2014
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This review is from: The Pleasures of English Food (English Journeys) (Paperback)
1) I read this only late at night, after all meals of the day had been taken, but I suspect reading it before meals would be a great aid to dieters. (Those on calorie-controlled diets living in the British Isles, though, may because of habituation find it less effective and dieters from Iceland accustomed to eating with gusto sheep's heads might experience a paradoxical effect.)

2) Davidson has interesting accounts of the origins and evolution of traditional English dishes and ways of cooking them. He also provides some (not enough, for my taste) information on the social history and cultural connotations of British eating habits; an entry for 'high tea', for example, draws the distinction between the supposedly elegant afternoon tea and the high tea prepared further down the social scale.

3) Some of the entries (invariably ones in which the ingredients of a dish aren't discussed) are fascinating. The discussion of 'banquet' not only contains material for a superior sort of pub quiz (well, *I* didn't know that the word originally referred to the last course) but skirts the stuff of domestic anthropology whilst serving as reminder that an aristocrat can indulge in vulgar display as heartily as a footballer.

4) And it was over 'banquet' that I lingered longest. The host of a feast would before the last course lead his guests from the dining hall, and 'one can imagine the merriment with which [they] would file along a corridor . . . finally emerging from a small circular staircase onto the roof, enjoying a panorama of the surrounding countryside' before entering the banquet room. Perhaps I'm constitutionally incapable of merriment, but all I can imagine is the the misery of wandering down long corridors and up a spiral staircase after a heavy meal and of having one's silks and velvets sodden by the British rain which would of course render the surrounding countryside a grey blur. (Even more confounding, there was later a craze for contructing banquet rooms of twigs. Outdoors. Next to a fountain.)

5) An all-purpose traditional English recipe: Make two pie crusts with flour, water, and suet. Into one crust load chopped meat, suet, currants, orange peel, lemon rind, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cover with other crust; into a hole in the centre of it pour the broth you have made with offal, which will when cooked act as gelatin and hence turn the pie into a jelly.

For dessert, simply mince the meat finely and assemble as above, adding sugar and omitting the broth. (For a 21st-century touch, dump several cupfuls of cream over cooked pie. On no account add sugar to or whip the cream; doing the former presents the danger of overwhelming the delicate suety undertones and doing the latter would make the crust insufficiently soggy.

6) The title of the book is not a tongue-in-cheek one.

7) Davidson is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his subject and the book is, except for the food, quite enjoyable;

8) thus, the book is worth keeping an eye out for even though one phrase in it says all you really need to know about English cookery (and all you really don't want to know about English aesthetics): [of the inedible fish heads poking out around the circumference of stargazey pie] '. . . the only valid reason for the pie is an aesthetic one.'
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must, 2 Dec. 2013
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rgr (Bradford, West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pleasures of English Food (English Journeys) (Paperback)
The book arrived in pristine condition and in very good time.
This is a good book for all the English at large what wonderful cuisine their's is/was.
It's descriptive of their glorious past when they ruled the seven seas and sourced the best of the best.
A reminder of these days of Supermarket dominance it's subtle dictatorship in titillating the palate and maximising profit.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flippin' marvellous !, 16 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Pleasures of English Food (English Journeys) (Paperback)
A wonder of cookery writing about an almost taboo subject - English food. Written with great wit, humour and above all, a marvellous understanding of her subject. Jane Grigson' s English Food is a Master Class.
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The Pleasures of English Food (English Journeys)
The Pleasures of English Food (English Journeys) by Alan Davidson (Paperback - 2 April 2009)
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