A History of British Baking Cookbook Review

A History of British Baking Cookbook Review

Title: A History of British Baking: From Blood Bread to Bake-Off
Author: Emma Kay
Published: November 11, 2020, Pen and Sword History
No. of Pages: 224
Cover Price: $49.95 Hardcover

A History of British Baking: From Blood Bread to Bake-Off by renowned food historian, Emma Kay, gives readers insight into how some of the most beloved British baked good evolved. True foodies, who not only cook but are curious about how certain dishes came about, and want to read up on it, will find themselves hooked on this book. Although it’s not a cookbook with beautiful photographs, and dozens of mouthwatering dishes, there are black and white photos along with vignettes and historical information that will inform and enlighten readers.

This book is extremely well-researched, and the prose is written in an excellent, flowing narrative that anyone interested in the historical aspects of food will be excited about. Although there are dozens of recipes, some dating back centuries, the history of certain British dishes and the stories of those who developed them are what will keep readers interested. Some of the most beloved British dishes such as the ubiquitous sausage roll (available almost everywhere in Britain and very common), and the Victoria sandwich (a sponge cake that is available at every bakery and deli), got their start centuries ago and haven’t waned in popularity. There are also dozens of not so well-known baked items that foodies will be tempted to bake from this historical cookbook if they can pull themselves away from reading.

While it is a must read for foodies, it isn’t for bakers and cooks who just want to get dinner on the table or bake a treat to serve a few friends. This one is for die-hard epicures who want to know everything they can about the food they are preparing. It is reminiscent of a textbook and the price, which is quite steep, reflects it. However, that shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying this book at home.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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