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Customer Review

on 23 October 2009
I really wanted to like this book. It has everything that should appeal to me - it's a little bit of history, and it still has a message to teach about frugality and minimising waste. But the message is dated, and Delia's efforts to mitigate this just make it worse. This is penny-pinching frugality. In her intro she says she's done away with flavoursome animal fats in favour of groundnut oil because of its blandness and cheapness, and she apologises for the "extravagant" use of cream and states that all milk has been given as semi-skimmed because whole milk and gold top is a thing of the past (have you been to a supermarket lately, Delia?) She similarly substitutes all herbs for "Herbes de Provence" (a snob's name for mixed herbs) and boasts about where to find the best curry powder.

The message for the modern era is that food doesn't need to cost the earth, and homemade is better than shop bought, but this book is preaching about how the 12 minutes a woman queues up in Sainsbury's to buy prepared sprouts could be better spent at home peeling her own sprouts (to save pennies) and buying loose tea will save over teabags. It's grim and depressing reading. Don't get me started on her section about "dull cod" or battery eggs. I know these were written 32 years ago (the year I was born in fact) and times have changed, but her glib modern remarks in italics at the bottom of the page are not enough and in fact make me see red.

This is a flimsy attempt to cash in on the credit crunch and wheel out her old material for a new generation. Give up Delia, the only people you'll be pleasing are the ones who bought this book the first time round and want a fresh copy.

If you're looking for a decent cookbook do yourself a favour and spend the money on Jamie Oliver (there's something I never thought I would write). He can set you up with a storecupboard full of herbs, spices and other basics and get you making some really good, fresh and exciting food for about the same price as Delia's Mutton Pot Pie or the unspeakably awful sounding Kipper Quiche or dreadfully dated "Porc au chou" (because saying it in French doesn't make it any better).
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