The River Cottage Cookbook Hardcover – 3 Feb 2011
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About the Author
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is the idiosyncratic and highly acclaimed presenter of Channel 4’s TV Dinners, A Cook on the Wild Side and Escape to River Cottage, as well as a columnist for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Times. He has three times been nominated for the prestigious Glenfiddich Food Awards, winning once with the second series of A Cook on the Wild Side. Hugh lives in Dorset with his partner Marie and their son Oscar.
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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. He's very happy in many cases to limit seasoning to pretty much salt and freshly ground black pepper, and I must say, having made many of these recipes, he's right. Good honest food with good honest taste.
I've been inspired to try a lot of things I hadn't really eaten before. His fresh tomato salsa and his rich tomato sauce with bacon recipes were really quite superb. I had low expectations on what such heavily tomato orientated recipes could deliver in terms of food enjoyment, and was delighted to find they delivered in bucketfuls.
I can't remember the time I'd eaten a chutney prior to buying this book. But this book inspired me to make one. Not only was it easy, the recipe for River Cottage Chutney is absolutely delicious, a total revelation. We've gone from a household that rarely ate chutneys to one where it makes an appearance on pretty much every meal occasion we can think of.
And I'd never even considered trying to make my own bacon from a piece of pork. But Hugh was so enthusiastic about this process I had to give it a go, and I'm pleased I did. My first attempt turned out a bit too salty (as Hugh had warned!) but what fun I had making it and what enjoyment I had eating it.
And this really is the wonder of this book. It brings back pleasure and fun into your food preparation and eating. It makes the food you eat that much more special. And for me, never a great cook or cooker, it's added a totally new dimension to my life, as I take up the challenge of exploring new recipes and meals.
I therefore have no hesitation in highly recommending this book to you. It is a must read book for anyone with the slightest interest in the food they eat. But be warned. His passion for food is contagious, and you may well end up having major lifestyle and food outlook changes. Not only will you start eating really good meals again, the chances are your views on food sourcing and farm animal welfare will never be the same again.
Just be ready to change your lifestyle and shell out for at least 3 other River Cottage titles.
Hugh's philosophy on food production and preparation, and indeed the value we place on what and how we eat, has single-handedly stopped my McDonald's rive-thru habit.
Great book very informative and interesting read. Gives a good background to where our food stuffs usually come from and better, healthier alternatives that can be used. Also gives simple details on growing own veg/fruit/herbs, selecting meat (both producers and cuts) as well as great recipes.