- Hardcover: 488 pages
- Publisher: Collins; New edition edition (3 Feb. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007375271
- ISBN-13: 978-0007375271
- Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 19.3 x 5.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The River Cottage Cookbook Hardcover – 3 Feb 2011
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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
A magnificently unsqueamish collection of instructions and recipes -- Nicci Gerrard, Observer, 25 November 2001
A practical and lively smallholder's bible, essential reading ... I am prepared to bet this will prove one of my favourite cookery titles this year -- Philippa Davenport, Financial Times, 17 February 2001
As good for the armchair as it is in the kitchen, even worth packing for reference outdoors -- Tom Jaine, Guardian, 17 March 2001
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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?
It is a huge book though, so not one for the back pocket.
It's not got us keeping our own animals, but we now go to farmers markets, and grow more vegetables.
Lots of good recipes.
My wife bought this by mistake.. We didn't return it after it arrived one morning and would recommend it to others who are dying for an excuse to shop less at supermarkets.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Too intense a read with too much detail. Not my kind of cookbook.Published 29 days ago by spydermanbruce
Lovely looking hard cover book, very detailed, but exactly what my sister loves (it was her birthday present). Read morePublished 5 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
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