- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Collins; New Ed edition (6 Oct. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007164092
- ISBN-13: 978-0007164097
- Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 4.3 x 24.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The River Cottage Cookbook Paperback – Illustrated, 6 Oct 2003
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Ordinarily the word "lifestyle" is more likely to be applied to slender magazine articles puffing lofts full of Eames furniture rather than books about smallholdings in Dorset. The River Cottage Cookbook, however, is a hefty 450 pages of pure, gumbooted rural lifestyle; and one could not wish it shorter. Cook, broadcaster and food-writer-at-large Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been ensconced at River Cottage for a number of years, cultivating his vegetable garden, raising chickens, pigs and even cattle for his table and taking occasional potshots at the local wildlife. His achievements have been chronicled on television; now they appear between hard covers.
Although it calls itself a cookbook and does contain a large number of fine recipes, the book's scope is much broader. Really, this is more like one of those "Enquire Within on Everything" volumes 19th-century settlers used to take to the outback with them, full of instructions for mixing whitewash, worming dogs and making a bag pudding. Starting with vegetables, proceeding to livestock and fish (River Cottage does indeed have a river and is only five miles from the sea) and concluding with the wild food, floral and faunal, of the hedgerow, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall explains how he grows, gathers, kills and cooks his own food.
There is a lot of information here, and a lot of hard reality, too: he is very clear and forthright about the place of death in this kind of life. But then this is a very clear and forthright book overall, a very engaging and really quite inspirational manual of how to live the country life so many of us dream about. It's well-illustrated, too, with Simon Wheeler's fine photographs of Hugh at work chasing chickens, skinning eels, carrying piglets and so on. The food in the River Cottage kitchen looks wonderful, too, though the photo of a cod-head glaring resentfully from under a beehive of parsley in a stock pot carries many more resonances than it is possible to summarise here. --Robin Davidson
“As good for the armchair as it is in the kitchen, even worth packing for reference outdoors.”
– Tom Jaine, The Guardian
“Hugh’s take on food is charming and refreshingly earthy. How can one refuse?”
– Rick Stein
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Top Customer Reviews
And since then, I've bought chickens, a cow, pigs, a polytunnel, crayfish traps, built Feather Hamlets, eaten better than ever before, understood where my food comes from, been able to rationalise my dislike of supermarkets, got drunk on homemade wine and still been able to eat a Saturday night kebab without fretting.
Whereever you stand on food and it's production, this book can offer you something. Down to earth advice, a handful of recipes, a sense of fun, and lots of practical help and enthusiasm.
It doesn't tell you how to make a perfect beef casserole, but it will tell you how to choose a perfect cow, keep her happy, breed from her, cross her, milk her, and butcher her in the run up to a dozen pretty fine dishes.
Has to be better than buying a clingfilm wrapped package, surely?
This is quite simply one of the best books ever written about food production, sourcing and meal creation. The way you view food will never be the same again once you have read this book. It's a recipe book, a back to nature lifestyle book, a book of ethics and morality that really gets you questioning our modern farming practices and the quality of food it produces, and so much more.
It's also a book that will have you yearning to return to nature, to start growing your own food, plant your own vegetable patch, to start raising some chickens and a pig or two. It'll get you wanting to make your own bacon, dry cure your own meats, produce your own chorizos and salami's, and make your own sausages. It'll inspire you to try new recipes, new ingredients, new food types. It'll stimulate you to be adventurous and inquisitive again about the food and what you eat. Ultimately it will get you to rediscover the joy of eating good home made food raised in a way that is respectful to both environment and animal welfare. And with it, it'll inspire a passion for food that you never had before. It did me.
I read this monster of a book in one go. It was un-put-down-able, and a real education and inspiration across the board. No wonder it won all the major prestigious cook book awards when it first came out. Whilst it is so much more than just a cook book, it is being sold with the word cook book in the title, so the key question is, how good are the recipes? In my view, based on the recipes I've followed, they are very good. I like the way he keeps them pretty simple and straight forward. No really fancy ingredients or excessive long list of hard to get seasonings.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lovely looking hard cover book, very detailed, but exactly what my sister loves (it was her birthday present). Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Little more needs be said about this epoch-defining work.
Just be ready to change your lifestyle and shell out for at least 3 other River Cottage titles. Read more