This morning’s reading

A couple of weeks ago, I had a very generous goodie bag, which included two classic cookbooks recently reissued by Quadrille. I had a little glance when I got them but not a proper look, that I did this morning. I don’t buy cookbooks often but have amassed a few over the years, some given, some bought. Sometimes I use them a lot and some only come out for one or two particular recipes. Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries, for example, was used a bit when it came out then put away for a few years until early this summer, when I cooked loads from it. It’s brilliant when you rediscover recipes or books you haven’t used in years – like the River Cafe Cookbook, the original blue one, which everyone bought when it came out in the nineties and then complained that the recipes were either too complicated or ingredients impossible to obtain. How the times have changed.

Anyway, back to this morning’s reading. I don’t have any classic French cookbooks – have a couple of restaurant cookbooks where chefs use French techniques but that’s about it. So this should come in quite useful:

Marcel Boulestin’s Simple French Cooking for English Homes, a 1923 cookbook. I almost fancy spending the day making all the sauces but, in order to do that, I would, of course have to go get me some beef first and make a proper consomme. Apparently, Boulestin was the first TV chef.

Eliza Acton’s Modern cookery for private families, an 1845 cookbook. I’ve actually heard of Eliza Acton before, so super happy to have this book. It is huge and has everything! Also, seems to be the first cookbook that gives measurements and cooking times as apparently cooks were meant to have known those things already. Have also taken, then ‘suitably aged’ some pictures from inside:

Perhaps the last picture – of the game page a bit ‘too aged’ and middle picture is on methods and equipment needed for preserving. Think I will spend part of Christmas holidays making things – according to Simon Hopkinson (quote on back cover), the Christmas pudding recipe is the only one he ever uses. Tempted to make but only because I’ve never made it before, not because I really love Christmas pudding. Of course, if I wait for holidays, will be way too late to make the pudding… Beloved says not to bother as we’re bound to eat too much of it elsewhere anyway.


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