3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A calendar of feasts with recipes,
This review is from: Cattern Cakes and Lace A Calendar of Feasts (Hardcover)
This is an entertaining book rather than a scholarly one. A selection of the seasonal festivals of the British Isles is set out starting, because of the title, on St Catherine's Day (Nov 25th) when Cattern Cakes were baked. We proceed through the year, with snippets of poetry and folklore interspersed with recipes, some very old traditional ones, others teamed with their feast days in slightly less obvious ways.
The text is printed over a collage of photographic images; flowers, old postcards, and specimens of needlework. This creates a charming effect even if some of the artwork is of the greeting card type. Repeated references are made to lace, and one starts to wonder "Why Cattern cakes and LACE?" as lace doesn't seem to have a great deal to do with the seasonal festivities. All is revealed when we read the inside flap; the authors are both lacemakers and are taking the opportunity to bang the drum for their speciality.
This is the sort of book that makes a delightful gift for someone nostalgic. All the recipes, we're told, have been tested. There some opportunities missed; why give a Christmas recipe for roast turkey, and not choose something more recherche? And the traditional dish for Lammas is a Lammas loaf - that would have fitted in nicely, and it's mentioned in the text, but instead we get an unrelated lamb pie and a Victorian summer pudding.
The book is well indexed, and there is a short bibliography which I'll reprint in full, as it may prove useful to anyone looking for something less fluffy.
British Calendar Customs: England (Publications of the Folk-lore society)
Food in England
English Bread and Yeast Cookery
Traditional English Foods, Cathie Webber
Calendar of Country Customs
The Winter Solstice
The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (NYRB Classics)Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend
History of Lace, Mrs Bury Pallifer
The National Trust Guide to the Traditional Customs of Britain
Customs and Ceremonies of Britain: An Encyclopaedia of Living Traditions
Apart from the first one, the ones with links are available at little cost.