Great Food, Beautiful Books

I am really not that interested in cooking (unusual for a blogger, I know), but for some reason I have always liked to read about food.  I also appreciate beautiful books, so Penguin UK’s Great Food series is just up my alley.  It includes 20 culinary classics from several centuries, all encased in beautiful covers crafted by the justly-famous British book designer Coralie Bickford-Smith. The series was released in Britain in late Spring, and in the US last month.

Two Trios of Titles and the Entire Stack.

Let’s look at a few titles in more detail.  There is a nice transition here from yesterday’s post on illustrator Frederick Stuart Church, who illustrated an edition of the early nineteenth-century English essayist Charles Lamb’s charmingly-titled A Dissertation upon Roast Pig.  So first we have the new Penguin edition, followed by an equally beautiful Wayside Arts & Crafts copy from the turn of the last century, and finally the Church illustration.  Great additions to the history of barbecue!

Gervase Markham, author of one of the first manuals for “hus-wives” in the seventeenth century, is offered to twenty-first century audiences in Penguin’s The Well-kept Kitchen. Markham has always offered a window into the early modern domestic world for both myself and my students, as has the eighteenth-century cookery writer, Hannah Glasse, whose Arte of Cookery has been refashioned as Everlasting Syllabub and the Art of Carving.  Below the modern variants are the title page to the 1831 edition of Markham’s English House-wife. Containing the inward and outward Virtues which ought to be in a complete Woman and (since we were on the topic), Hannah Glasse’s original recipe for roast pig.

5 responses to “Great Food, Beautiful Books

  • The Roving Home

    Wow. This is going on the Christmas wish list. It looks like the series could provide many hours of culinary entertainment…

  • julia fogg

    Thank you for this Donna – the office of malting! Now there’s a skill long gone.

  • downeastdilettante

    Gorgeous, and great titles. This neatly takes care of one person on my Christmas list, who will appreciate them all for the same right reasons that you do. Thanks!

    BTW, speaking of not cooking, but liking cookbooks, my father, who has not once ever cooked, nor has any inclination in that direction, nevertheless at the age of 78 (he’s now 85) became transfixed by the Food Network and is an expert on techniques and exotic ingredients—-but no interest at all in cooking.

  • Anyes Kadowaki Busby

    Like you Donna, I’m not much of a cook, but appreciate the artistry of it. This beautiful collection you have featured reminds me of this cook book I have by Verity Isitt, Take a Buttock of Beef. When I read this title in a second hand book store, I bursted with laughter. I just had to get it. It’s about life and food preparation in the seventeenth century, from peasants to royalty – fascinating.

  • Nelson Dionne

    This may be as good a place to mention this as any; I have gathered a large batch of Salem cookbooks over the past 40 years. They have been published by a wide variety of Salem groups over the past 125 or so years. I really do not collect them; anybody looking for, or collect Salem cookbooks too ?

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