Good Things in England: A Practical Cookery Book for Everyday Use (Persephone book) Paperback – 22 Nov 1999
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'Ever wondered how to cook Thomas Hardy's frumenty, make Izaak Walton's Minnow Tansies or pickle elder buds?' asked the "Sunday Telegraph". "Good Things in England" is a collection of 853 regional recipes dating back to the C14th. First published in 1932, it was written by Florence White, the country's first ever freelance food journalist, and, like all classic culinary works, it is a pleasure to read. 'A marvellous compendium of recipes' declared Matthew Fort in "The Guardian"; 'one of the most influential cookery books of the C20th' said the "Church Times"; and in "Saga" magazine Derek Cooper wrote about 'a remarkable woman called Florence White...who believed that "we had the finest cookery in the world but it has been nearly lost by neglect.'"'The book is a classic,' said Elizabeth David, 'in that the author's collection of English recipes is unique and their authenticity unquestioned. The book is also a lovely one to read, full of fresh ideas and appetising descriptions of English specialities.'
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Top Customer Reviews
Florence White assembled the book by asking for contributions from interested amateurs; thus it is a hodge-podge of recipes from all times and all regions. Brief annotations set things in context and are useful to the cook. However the recipes are tricky for the novice to follow as they do not have the level of "idiot's advice" we may be accustomed to from TV chefs; they assume a certain basic level of knowledge.
I would suggest that this is a follow-on book for those who already like traditional cooking as interpreted by the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and want to extend their repertoire and venture further off the beaten track. If you want something similar, but more organised and with the recipes more carefully selected, do go for the utterly excellent but little-known The Cookery of England
Well, back in the good old days (that's the 1930's to you and me), the upper and genuine middle classes ate offal too, and why? Because they knew it was good for them, and it tastes just great! But, don't run away with the idea that this book is simply a list of delectable things to do with pig's trotters. Oh no, it has eel pie too, plus scores of great cakes, pies, roasts, puddings - literally hundreds of recipes that cover virtually everything worth eating in England between 1430 and 1930. Which, since the revival started by Elizabeth David, built on by Jane Grigson, and lately developed by the likes of Mark Hix, means that we can see why those that know a thing or two about food think English cooking is something to be very proud of.
Most recipes have at least a date, many a full source, and a little anecdote to get you into the swing of things. Did you know, for example, that England has been eating curries since Richard the Lionheart? I bet you thought they came with Hongkong Chinese and Indians in the 1950's. So, instead of shooting the King's deer, Robin Hood probably sent a couple of the lads in Lincoln Green down to the nearest Balti House. However, I digress! This book is an absolute must for anyone who appreciates the subtleties of English cuisine.Read more ›
The book was published in 1932 so not exactly nouvelle cuisine. The recipes are interesting and of their time but don't expect this to be the one cookery book you've been searching for to feed your family in the 21st century. However, it is very interesting as a culinary historical document which is why I bought it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have given it 4* because it is an old book and some of the language and terminology needs to be explained for readers perhaps under 60. Read morePublished on 21 Feb. 2014 by Phil
Excellent book with traditional recipes & absorbing anecdotes. Our copy is 44 years old and still comes out on high days & holidays. Read morePublished on 16 Feb. 2012 by Michael J. Law