The Prawn Cocktail Years Paperback – 23 Apr 1999
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Here they all are, fresh as paint, as if they'd never been away. Why did we let them go? Neglected, derided, dismissed as hopelessly naff, in what dismal Midlands eateries have they been waiting out the years of shame? No matter, they're back. Prawn Cocktail, Steak and Chips and Black Forest Gateau are the signature dishes of The Prawn Cocktail Years, a bravura collection of favourite restaurant dishes from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies--years when Britain was learning to eat out. How evocative the recipe titles are (the authors describe a Proustian moment when the memories came pouring out): Coquilles St-Jacques, Sole Veronique, Beef Stroganoff, Mixed Grill, Swedish Meatballs, Wiener Schnitzel, Chicken Maryland, Crepes Suzette, Peach Melba and Profiteroles. Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham remind us firmly that although these may not chime with present food fashions (or prejudices), they were loved in their time and should be again, because when well made they are very good dishes indeed. They need no apology or special pleading.
The time machine of The Prawn Cocktail Years visits a number of favourite establishments over the years: the Fifties Hotel Dining Room, the Gentleman's Club, the Continental Restaurant. It looks into the coffee-bar madness that was Expresso Bongo (unexpectedly, perhaps, offering Cornish Pasty and Sausage Rolls for refreshment here), the Sixties Bistro, the Tratt-Era and Chez Gourmet; and returns us to the present burning to throw out our sun-dried tomatoes and lemon-grass and get down to making a good Fish Pie and Brown Bread Ice-Cream. Readers of a certain age, as they say, will be thrilled to see these old friends again; younger readers may care to discover what we ate before cooking became the new rock 'n' roll. --Robin Davidson
About the Author
Simon Hopkinson was born in Bury in Lancashire where his love of good eating was established at the kitchen table. He left school at seventeen to begin a career as a chef and by the age of 21, he had started his own restaurant. In 1987, he opened Bibendum in London with Sir Terence Conran where he worked for 8 years before retiring to concentrate on writing. He has since written columns for the Independent, The Sunday Times and Sainsbury’s Magazine and is the author of four books, including the bestselling Roast Chicken and Other Stories.
Lindsey Bareham is best known for her daily after-after work recipe column in the Evening Standard, which she wrote for eight years. Currently she writes the weekly ‘Cheat’s Dinner Party’ column in the Sunday Telegraph Stella magazine and contributes a monthly recipe column to Saga magazine. She has written ten cookery books, including In Praise of the Potato, A Celebration of Soup, The Big Red Book of Tomatoes and Just One Pot. Her most recent book, The Fish Store, is a collection of recipes and stories, inspired by her holiday home in a Cornish fishing village.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Be warned, as well as some great dishes, you will find things you hate in here. But try them just the same. My wife has a serious dislike of Quiche Lorraine, but agreed to try the version in this book. She ate it all and enjoyed it, but we won't be having it again for a while - it's very calorie-heavy! Give this book a try, it's great fun and if you're too young to remember the dishes in it, you're in for a real treat - good food is not an invention of the current crop of TV chefs - it's always been there.
Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham have written several individual books between them, but this one has that.....well.....je ne sais quoi!
It just beckons one to open the seductive looking black cover and reveal the collection of favourite restaurant dishes from the 50s, 60s and 70s, revisited with nostalgia and a fair bit of pride.
For me the book arrived at a time when I was desperately seeking, dare I say a new 'shop-bought', 'Marie Rose Sauce', as my favourite had been given an up-to-date 'tweak' with the addition of pink peppercorns! (Yuck)!
As I sampled the vast array available, most were too lemony, too mayonnaisey or simply too bland.......so the answer....well.... good old DIY.
And with the help of the 'Prawn Cocktail Years', it is actually incredibly easy to achieve just the right balance for your own sauce.
The mouth-watering 'Prawn Cocktail' photograph on page 15, and in the images above, is enticement enough to encourage the purchase of this marvellous book, which opens up to a wealth of forgotten or 'not culinary correct' recipes.
272 shiny high quality pages, split over chapters:
1. The Great British Meal Out
2. The 50s Hotel Dining Room
3. The Gentleman's Club
4. The Continental Restaurant
5. Expresso Bongo
6. The 60s Bistro
7. The Tart-era
8. Chez Gourmet
with introductions for the September 2006 edition as well as the original in February 1997, plus a recipe index and a general index.
Each chapter opens with text, often humorous, as does the narrative within the recipes, e.g.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was excited to get this after reading excerpts, but the two recipes I tried didn't work (rum baba being one). Read morePublished 18 days ago by Ali
I have wanted this book for sometime and am delighted to have it. All the recipes I remember as a young cook are there and with the current trend for retro dishes it is really good... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rosemary A. Morrison
LOVE THE BOOK, BRINGS MANY FAVE FOOD MEMORIES OF TIME PAST.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
He's a great writer, as always, but Bury Grammar School's jam roly-poly, and the white gloop served with it, were both memorably (even 50 years later) disgusting.Published 22 months ago by Roger Mortimer
A nice book, but in somewhat tatty condition. Many felt stuck together, but not seriously.Published 23 months ago by Mr. J. D. Clegg
This book is a total joy - if you secretly love prawn cocktail, grew up understanding that a lasagne was where it was at - and have been hanging out for a really good - black... Read morePublished on 29 Jan. 2014 by Julia M. Frank
I'm a great fan of Hopkinson, I have most of his books, this is another great addition to my collection. Recipes turn out well.Published on 12 July 2013 by Shirley
Actually having written the title of this review - I wish many more 'professional' chefs had a copy of this book. Read morePublished on 22 Jan. 2013 by Jane