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on 7 October 2010
This is a remarkable piece of in-depth research about a very obscure but fascinating subject. Janet MacDonald deserves our gratitude for a book packed with anecdotes and interesting asides about the various characters involved in feeding the thousands of sailors in Britain's navy. Some of the suppliers were honest and adventurous, cornering the beef market or buying up the greens in tiny little ports and harbours, often in countries at war with Britain! Many of them were crooks and rogues, pilfering or double-dealing, turning a dishonest profit or leaving the poor sailors with rotten meat, rancid cheese and mouldy biscuits. This book touches on the men, their mess bills, dining habits, cooking tips and even includes some recipes for anyone who wants to host a 'Captain Jack' dinner party!
I bought this book because it was recommended by Terry Pratchett - thanks Terry!
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on 1 February 2009
A treasure trove of intriguing facts.
Anyone with an interest in cooking (and/or the Royal Navy) will find this book a fascinating collection of details regarding the importance of nutrition to the men on board.

The manner of how the Navy was actually vittled in itself, pre-refrigeration etc, was a revelation.
There are recipies and ingredients (in quantities for home use - not 800 hungry Tars!).

A great addition to the library of anyone interested in this period of British Naval history.
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on 21 August 2011
This book is superb. It covers the subject with the correct amount of detail to allow an interested layman to gain a good understanding of what allowed British naval supremacy (&, in consequence, the founding & maintaining of the British Empire).

It also provides a good base for anyone with academic interest in the matter; the bibliography / references give directions to necessary primary and secondary sources of information.

Lastly, for enthusiastic cooks and food-historians, it gives reliable and - as far as would seem possible - authentic recipes for contemporary naval food.

If you have an interest in this subject or intend this book as a gift for someone who has, there will be no disappointment.
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on 21 February 2015
Beautiful book, clearly an academic venture into the commercial, and why not. Obviously many years of study have preceeded this intriguing work.
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on 13 February 2015
As the star rating indicates, it's ok but seems to be lacking in some way. The author has made many assumptions relating to how the men of Nelson's Navy were fed. Nevertheless it does give a good insight into the vast supplies needed to support Naval operations around the Napoleonic Wars and how they were supplied.
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on 14 March 2014
Well written and well reserched, For anyone interested in the real history and note the twist that is sometime put on by for example THE HORNBLOWER BOOKS etc then this is the book for you. Well doe JM.
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on 24 February 2014
I love reading dry facts about an environment I have read fiction about and this really sums up the facts of food.
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on 14 July 2015
A great companion piece if you've been reading Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin series.
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on 4 March 2015
very happy.
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