The British Table Book Review
|Title:||The British Table: A New Look at the Traditional Cooking of England, Scotland, and Wales|
|Published:||November 8, 2016, Abrams|
|No. of Pages:||328|
|Cover Price:||$50.00 Hardcover, $16.79 Kindle|
Think those old stereotypes that say British food is awful are true? Think again! England, Scotland, and Wales probably have their share of bad cooks, just like everywhere, but The British Table: A New Look at the Traditional Cooking of England, Scotland, and Wales is the perfect way to prove those stereotypes wrong. Colman Andrews, a restaurant reviewer, food columnist, and award-winning cookbook author, has outdone himself with this incredible cookbook. The fact that Andrews is a seasoned writer as well as a cook makes the book interesting to read. He has included dozens of famous British dishes with unique names, such as Toad in the Hole, Rumbledethumps, Tatties & Neeps, Hindle Wakes, and Mince & Tatties, as well as traditional dishes like Lancashire Hot Pot, Homity Pie, Yorkshire Pudding, fish and chips, mushy peas, and Cornish Pasties. He explains the history behind these dishes, and adds fascinating vignettes which capture the culture of the countries and the people that live there. For those who are curious, he even discusses Marmite and Haggis.
When I do a cookbook review, I always make sure to prepare at least two or three recipes from the book to make sure that the amounts are correct and that they turn out right (you’d be surprised how many cookbooks out there have untested recipes). The first one I tried was for traditional fish and chips with mushy peas, a favorite dish that I order often from a pub in Kensington. Andrews’ recipe reminded me of the newspaper wrapped fish and chips I used to get in Brighton – even better that my pub. Although they don’t often wrap the fish and chips in newspaper anymore because the ink on the paper isn’t safe (so I’m told), I did it anyway to capture the charm for my family. Of course to keep with tradition, I made the Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert; that recipe was much easier than the one in my recipe collection, and it was excellent. The Eton Mess is also delicious.
This cookbook has enough mouthwatering recipes to keep everyone busy cooking for months. There are dozens, even hundreds, of cookbooks full of English recipes, but this one includes Traditional Welsh recipes like the famous Welsh Rarebit, and several good Scottish recipes, like Tattie Scones which are an essential element in a full Scottish breakfast, and Roast Chicken with Skirlie Stuffing (next in the queue).
The photography is exceptional, not only of the mouthwatering dishes, but also the countryside. Unfortunately, not every dish is pictured, but most are, and the pictures make this a very beautiful cookbook.
Andrews has obviously done extensive research, and it makes the book not only great to cook from, but also fun to read. The British Table: A New Look at the Traditional Cooking of England, Scotland, and Wales is highly recommended and will make a great addition to every cookbook collection.
Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.
This book may be purchased at Amazon:
The British Table: A New Look at the Traditional Cooking of England, Scotland, and Wales
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