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Cookery: 17th-Century British Reborn

Pursuits | By Elisabeth Luard | August Issue


'Once we’ve eaten it, roast, boiled or stewed, leftovers are used for what Victorian housewives called ‘made’ dishes – pies, pasties and Frenchified ragouts and fricassees.'

Just right for the age of austerity – and, not to put too fine a point on it, jingoism – is Bake Off finalist Mary-Anne Boermans’s Deja Food (Square Peg, £20), subtitled Second Helpings of Classic British Dishes. You catch the thrust: forget the fancy frills and furbelows – Britain’s culinary heritage is ‘frugal but full of flavour, deliciously different, yet proudly traditional’. What emerges from this merry gallop through our national library of good housekeeping is that what we really like to eat is meat, preferably beef, but pork or lamb will do. Once we’ve eaten it, roast, boiled or stewed, leftovers are used for what Victorian housewives called ‘made’ dishes – pies, pasties and Frenchified ragouts and fricassees. The only puddings included are savoury, though fruit pops up in sauces and stuffings. While the recipes are set within their historical context, most are updated or given in the...

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