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LoraM

Lora's Rants and Reviews

My own unapologetic opinions on books and writing.

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The British Table

— feeling hungry
The British Table: A New Look at the Traditional Cooking of England, Scotland, and Wales - Colman Andrews, Christopher Hirsheimer

by Colman Andrews

 

Traditional British cookbooks can be difficult to find in England. Seriously, ethnic cookbooks are everywhere but apart from BeRo and Mrs Beeton, the more modern cookbooks tend to pass over the Brits.

 

This one is full of beautiful, full color pictures and information the author has picked up while traveling in the UK. Some of the observations made are interesting to read from an American self-professed Anglophile's point of view.

 

The recipes start out with good, basic recipes for oatcakes, porridge, bacon rolls, etc., then it gets fancy with Omelette Arnold Bennett, which I've never heard of. It struck me as the sort of thing you would find in a good restaurant.

 

Some of the soups were a bit fancy, also more like restaurant fare than home cooking. The chapters cover Breakfast, Soups, Fish and Shellfish, Poultry and Rabbit, Beef, Pork and Lamb, Wild Game and Offal and Savory Pies and Puddings. These are followed by Vegetables, Desserts and Confections, and then even cover sauces and condiments, Teatime and drinks.

 

They deviated from English food on Gnocchi, which is Italian. But this was followed by some traditional Scottish recipes and soon came back to English with fish and chips. It seemed to me there was a lot of fish and seafood, but we do have a history of that on this island nation. Some Indian recipes were included, which is a popular cuisine here since colonial times, and the poultry section even included grouse, which you won't see in the usual cookbooks.

 

I maintain that my Yorkshire Pudding recipe is better, but there were several recognizable traditional recipes. I didn't know what to make of the vegetable recipes. It seemed directed at vegetarians, and someone ought to tell the author that builder's tea means milk and one sugar!

 

I think this might make a good first cookbook for Anglophiles who have an interest in the history of British cuisine. I don't know anyone who makes their own mayonnaise in modern times, but the overall balance gives a nice taste of the history of food in Britain.