Books for a Keen Cook
The Country Lifer Cookery Book
The Country Life Cookery Book was written by Ambrose Heath and illustrated by Eric Ravilious in 1937. It is an excellent cookery book, set out in twelve chapters, one for each month of the year, with some extra sections on ‘A Few River Fish’, ‘Herbs in the Kitchen’ and ‘A Calendar of Home-Grown Vegetables’. This last is especially useful for Persephone readers who grow their own vegetables or have an organic box delivered as it is a quick way of looking up what should be in season. And naturally the recipes are seasonal too. As Simon Hopkinson, the well-known chef and cookery writer, says in his new Preface: ‘Seasonal is simply how it was. Those of my parents’ generation, as well as that of Mr Heath, knew nothing else other than, say, the purchase of a pound of leeks from the greengrocer in winter, followed by no leeks at all, all summer long.’ And, he continues, ‘seasonal cookery writing is all the rage, now, but this was not always so. Nobody worth their salt would now dream of giving a recipe for asparagus in November, yet it was seen as the height of sophistication to be served the same vegetable imported from California in smart London restaurants throughout the 1970s.’ Something else that Simon Hopkinson admires is the Englishness of The Country Life Cookery Book.
Endpapers taken from an early 1930s design for a textile by Josef Hillerbrand for Morton Sundour.
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