English Recipes

By Sheila Hutchins

(Full Title : English Recipes and others from Scotland, Wales and Ireland)

This year I was fortunate enough to receive a beautiful original copy of this book for Christmas from my Mum.  The cover alone is spellbinding with its lavish baroque pattern and bold red and white typography – yet it is the wealth of recipes and history within that is entirely engrossing.  Written with wit and wisdom, it is easy to read through this book and absorb the layers of culinary know-how imbued in the pages.   Hutchins delves deep into the History of British cookery and reshapes ancient recipes for a more modest family table, with a particular interest in the Georgian and Victorian periods, a passion I share with the author.

Published in 1967, this celebration of British food in every sense, well ahead of its time, this feels every bit as relevant to me as any modern tome.  Hutchins offers an honest insight into the ingredients, techniques and fashions of by-gone eras and shows a sentimentality for food that I wholeheartedly identify with.