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The Ultimate British Cookbook
on 7 September 2006
This is the only cookery book I have worn out through repeated use (the first edition). I looked for a replacement a while ago and a second hand one was going for £50 - that's how unwilling people who own this book are to part with it!
Every recipe merits it's own 10 page rave - from the unashamedly posh Savoy Hotel's Omlette Arnold Bennet, the Tournedos Rossini with it's foie gras and black truffle fit for royalty, the Victorian breakfast kedgeree right out of the last days days of the Raj, Jam Roly Poly 'Dead man's leg' pudding beloved of public schoolboys (and lords) everywhere, real cornwall cornish paasty, and the rather eccentric sounding brown bread ice cream.
The real icing on the cake (pardon the pun) though is the writers' style - this is a book to read even when you are nowhere near the kitchen, even when you're eating a big mac. Each recipe has as its introduction a brief but fascinating history of where it originated, how it became 'British', and how it won its place in the canon of culinary history.
The recipes are listed by the establishments that made them famous - The fifties hotel dining room, the Gentleman's club, the Italianate 'Espresso Bongo' coffee bars the cropped up in Soho in the 60's and many others - giving you the choice to dine like a lord, a cornish miner, or a mod or rocker.
This is the cookbook of Britain - if you're not a native Brit it's time to treat your tastebuds in a way you never thought possible coming from these isles. If you are a Brit - it's time for a journey through your culinary birthright.