Something to Read
A fabulous set of cookery books will always go down well. Now, exactly what to get can be a little tricky, especially if the recipient IS a good cook and already has a well stocked cookery book shelf.
I recently got a lovely set of reprinted old cook books from Quadrille called ‘Classic Voices’. I have always loved old cook books and have a few that I’ve acquired from my mother including the Radion New World Cookbook dated 1954, a lovely guide to entertaining from the 40s and a late Victorian home management book which includes sections on ‘the Mistress and the Maid’.
My favourite of the set is a quirky little book called ‘Simple French Cooking for English Homes’ by x Marcel Boulestin first published in 1923. Its charm lies in its complete simplicity but with painstaking detail. For example:–
Oeufs Durs (Hard-Boiled Eggs)
‘Boil the eggs ten minutes on a quick fire; put them in cold water before using; they should not be peeled till they are completely cold.’
Eliza Acton’s Modern Cookery was first published some 50 years earlier and is another charming book. It’s full of those lovely engravings you see in old books and the recipes (receipts!) are annoted with the author’s thoughts, some marked ‘excellent’ others ‘author’s receipt’ and some with a country of origin.
In total there are four books currently published in the series. They are hardback and beautiful quality with traditional ribbon bookmarks. You can choose from the two titles above, Madame Prunier’s Fish Cookery Book or ‘The Gentle Art of Cookery’ by Mrs C E Level and Miss Olga Hartley
Now, while these may never be the ‘most used’ books on a modern cook’s bookshelf, they have a charm that is quite special. I love browsing through mine as much for the historic interest as for the recipes themselves.