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The River Cottage Cookbook Paperback – Illustrated, 6 Oct 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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

Review

“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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Having loved the television series this book was a great read. It's not just a cook book but full of advice on how to be more selective about the quality of food you put on your table. After the introduction I was ready to dig up my hostas and plant cabages and maybe even invest in a chicken or two. The book doesn't preach about organic foods and vegetarianism but instead offers advice to those who object to the way farm animals are reared and tells them to get their own or buy from reputable butchers or farmers markets. The stories are amusing, he admits his faliures as well as sucesses. It's enough to make you want to move to Dorset, if it weren't for the fact that he and Harbour Lights have caused it to become a desirable county for more than just the retired, and house prices have rocketed. I think that we can all, with the help of this book, aim for a slightly better way of living. Oh and the recipies are excellent, if sometimes a little strange.
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Format: Hardcover
As a supermarket-shopping, restaurant loving, born and bred Londoner, I did not buy this book out of any mis-placed romantic notions about self-sufficiency and country living, but because of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who is the best TV presenter on the subjects of food and people I've ever seen, and who turns out to be just as good a writer. His complete lack of pretension,his intelligence, his personal passion for his subject and his immunity to crowd-pleasing or 'style' make him inspiring, trustworthy and hugely likeable. This book will not persuade me to abandon urban life, but it has made me think deeply about the food chain, and motivated me to shop better, cook more and relish real food. This is a practical and sensual treat, and an absorbing and rewarding read.
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Format: Hardcover
I was given this book. It cost me nothing.
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?
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Format: Hardcover
a fantastic book describing all the best (and some of the worst) parts of natural food production. hugh's passion for natural food flies from every page of this book. hugh does a magnificent job of explaining why people hunt,shoot and fish, and gives great recipes for how to deal with the products of these sports. a truly great cookbook, and a highly practical guide to most things!!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is set to become a classic.Only two other books, in my opinion, rank in the same catogry. John Seymour`s "complete book of self suffciency" and Monty Don`s "Fork to Fork". Hugh Fernly Whittingstall provides the often overlooked conection between the food on our plates and its origins and process. His opinions reflect the reality of the production process, casting aside the blinkered view of the average supermarket shopper. He also opens up and explores the endless possibilities that lie, freely avialable, on our own doorstep. From cultivation to cookery Hugh`s enthusiasim leaps from the page. So, when is the sequel ?
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Format: Hardcover
This book really has it all. It describes in detail how to not only make incredible food but the way to 'rear' it. I love my career but I would give it up tomorrow to live the life Hugh describes! You will never own a more interesting cookjery book. I give this book frequently as a present at Christmas and Birthdays etc. - it is that good! the book left me with such a warm feeling that I wished Hugh was a personal friend,if he ever revisits his earlier series 'TV Dinners' I will certainly invite him and thank him for writing such fantastic books.
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Format: Hardcover
Already having a pasion for growing and collecting food from the countryside, I have found this book to be not only a great source of information but a fantastic read too! Putting down only to go looking for food in the hedge row or to create one of the many excellent receipes. Well worth buying at a great price.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An inspirational book that should come with a big bold warning: `Read at your peril. This book will change your life'.

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.
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