- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Random House Books; 1st edition (1 May 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1905211805
- ISBN-13: 978-1905211807
- Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 696,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Forgotten Fruits: A guide to Britain's traditional fruit and vegetables Hardcover – 1 May 2008
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... handsome and readable ... will be enjoyed by people interested in the diversity of British fruit and vegetables and the stories behind their development. --Joy Larkcom, The Garden, September 2008
...my favourite book of the year. Written with passion and real knowledge of his subject ... you will be inspired. --Monty Don, Daily Mail
a feast of pleasure . fantastic, meticulously researched, wonderful descriptions, lots of anecdotes, lots of practical advice . a serious work and fascinating read ... plenty of humour . hugely important. --Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time - a Book of the Year.
From the Publisher
Shortlisted for the Andre Simon Book Awards 2008See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Each variety is treated in a section that's just the right length - about a page or so. The first section alone, Apples, made me want to go to an Apple day and actually try some of the fragrant fruit he enthuses about - the Cornish Gilliflower, the Crawley Beauty. There's lots of practical info in there too - Dumelow's seedling has better flavour and texture than a Bramley for mincemeat and baking, for example. Good lists of suppliers and historic veg gardens to visit, too.
i don't know whether I will ever read it all the way through, but it's such a treat for a bathroom - ten minutes in the bath with this utterly relaxing book and you feel the woes and stresses of everyday life sink away as you ponder the Long Green Ridge Cucumber and other marvels of yesteryear.
My only, only complaint would be that the two sections of colour photos seemed like a bit of a waste of time. The black and white engravings which pepper the text are much more evocative.
My favourite bit: finding out that the radish was "rated so far above other foods" in Ancient Greece that "in the Temple of Apollo a radish modelled in gold was dedicated as a votive offering."
This book has no rivals. It deserves to be established in discriminating bookshelves everywhere, planted where it can be easily and frequently reached.
The book follows the 'catalogue' format, with a short entry for each variety. There's nothing wrong with that, but phrases like "whatever the truth..." pepper each entry, reflecting the author's inability to obtain firm information. I appreciate that the origin of many varieties is obscure, but a lot of the entries in here read like the product of basic online or general library research (at one point the author states that further details may yet be found in local archives or newspapers - why didn't he do more of this kind of research, in that case?)
It's also in need of a more thorough editing. As an example of the rather patchy nature of the writing - looking at the entry that happens to be in front of me - the entry on the Norfolk Biffin or Beefing lists the apple as "Norfolk Beefing", yet goes on to say the name was more commonly given in the form "Biffin"; states that it was enjoyed cold but then describes how it was usually cooked; and neglects to mention the central point of interest about the Biffin's preparation, that it was pressed during cooking, despite including a Dickens quote elliptically alluding to the pressing.
Some better known varieties, like Cox's Orange Pippin, get more attention, but they are hardly 'forgotten'. Many of the entries on more obscure varieties are thin four or five liners: you could get the same information from a cursory internet search in most cases. The book seems lacking in the wonderful anecdotes mentioned by some reviewers and while easy enough to read has a style that manages to be both breathless and a little flat.
This would probably be a suitable introduction for those with a very basic knowledge of the subject, but for the serious gardener, grower or historian it doesn't really stack up against the work of the likes of Richard Mabey.
There are some interesting illustrations and the individual sections on each type of produce are informative, yet short enough to be able to dip in and out of this book. It was definitely written by an enthusiast, and there are some useful reference links at the back.
This book is a lovely, light-weight, uplifting read which might appeal to anyone interested in fruit/veg gardening, unusual varieties of produce and British agricultural history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting book - and the book itself was in nearly new condition.Published 4 months ago by D. C. Fuhr
Lovely book which is wittily end entertainingly written. Christopher does often make sweeping claims which are not backed up and which, when I look them up online, seem tenuous at... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Guy from the East Midlands
A surprisingly entertaining book, well written. It would be nice to add some other fruits (such as really forgotten ones, such as medlars), and maybe some more varieties while... Read morePublished 12 months ago by James Swingland
A very good read covering some unusual types of fruits. With excellent descriptions and notes. For the price a must for your library shelf. Read morePublished on 8 Nov. 2012 by G. V. Bale
My friend got me this as a very belated housewarming present when I bought a half-acre garden (oh, and a house as well). Read morePublished on 17 Mar. 2012 by sue williams
I was disappointed with this book, as it is more of a coffee table, light look at the subject, without much academic backing. Read morePublished on 1 Jun. 2009 by M. N. Wilson