The books in Penguin’s Great Food series might be small but they’re perfectly formed. For these slim little pocket – or handbag – volumes, the publishing house chose twenty writers from a variety of eras, from Samuel Pepys and Eliza Acton to Alexandre Dumas and Claudia Roden.
Each of the books cherry picks a selection of their best writing on food and are packed full of brilliant ideas, interesting thoughts and recipes that you’ll want to try. There’s a vivid account of killing carp, pigeons and duck in the 1940s for Murder in the Kitchen (recipes for all included) from Alice B Toklas and Alice Waters’ simple mantra of eating locally, sustainably and seasonally. The one thing all authors seem to have in common is their simple greed for and appreciation of good food.
If you’ve ever wondered what Charles Lamb had to say about roast pig, wondered why every last chef goes on and on about Elizabeth David or wanted to peep into Isabella Beeton’s writing, these books are a great introduction. The only problem is, that like the most flavoursome titbit, they’ll leave you wanting more.
New books on my must buy list? Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, The Alice B Tolkas Cookbook and anything at all by MFK Fisher
Must Try: Alice B Tolkas’ Haschich Fudge (but of course!), Orange and Olive Salad from Alice Waters, Eggs in Hell by MFK Fisher
The Great Food Series is published by Penguin.
Ah, what a well-timed post. I’ve just finished Agnes Jekyll’s A Little Dinner Before The Play – a fascinating insight into foodie social rituals of the time, and a great accompaniment to the Jeeves & Wooster boxset we’re currently watching. Every dish of the period seems to have been cooked with either cream, or aspic, or both!
Next up is Hannah Glasse’s Everlasting Syllabub & The Art Of Carving – the chapter on poultry and game preparation alone makes it worth a read. Such a lovely series of books, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a few more – Hodges Figgis have a selection left, some at reduced prices too.
I love the covers on this series. I even sent Penguin a tweet to ask if they’d put them all together as a poster! Yet more books on my ever-growing wish list.
@Catherine Aspic was one of those things that used to fascinate me as a child – I read a lot of old English books. It seemed like such an essential element of the grand dinner party.
Might have to head into Hodges Figgis at the weekend and take a look at the books they have in stock, if I get out of Bloom for more than 10 minutes!
@Kristin Aren’t they fab? Any response regarding your poster email to Penguin? I’d like that on the wall of my future study area.