A few weeks ago I received a copy of “All in the Cooking”, which has recently been reprinted by O’Brien Press and The Educational Company, for review. I loved the original, or as it happens the metric edition, when growing up. It was very well thumbed in our kitchen and my mum still has it today. I remember cooking Yorkshire Puddings and Scones from it back in the 1980’s. The original was first published as an instructive text in 1946! The new edition is in a lovely hardback design with a ribbon bookmark and a stylish notes reminder attached, but when you open the book it’s like stepping back in time. The typeface, the chapter are all the authentic version.
Everything you’d expect from a cookbook first published the year after World War II ended. There’s great instructive diagrams on cuts of meat, and a handy explanation of French Term at the back. The basics of filleting fish and preparing vegetables are all covered. Sure the book has dated, it would be unusual to find a book published in the last thirty years that had “Rabbits” appear in the Table of Contents as it’s own sub-chapter, but there are so many classic techniques covered in a simple fashion in this book, without any fancy photographs or styling.
As a child the chapter entitled “Invalid Cookery” always intrigued me, opening with rules including “The doctor’s orders should be strictly adhered to” and Greasy foods should never be served, they are unpalatable, unsightly and indigestible”. Judging from my last stay in hospital a copy of this chapter should be sent to every hospital in the country, however, I’m not sure how “Fish Custard” or “Albumen Water” would go down these days.
There are classics that I will be revisiting, and some that I will never, every try. So Apple Snow, Quick Mince Dinner, Russian Fish Pie, Cabinet Pudding may get visited but I’m unlikely to need Brain Cakes (Yes, it is made of what you think it is made of), Brawn, or Sheep’s Head recipes any time soon,
It’s fascinating to see so little emphasis on salads, the book contains six, including potato salad and carrot salad (which comprises carrot, lettuce and French dressing). There isn’t a seed nor a chickpea in sight.
I’m delighted to add this book to my collection, it’s as much a commentary on the changes we have made in food in the last 70 years in Ireland as it is a cookbook that I will refer to.
I’m delighted that O’Brien Press have given me a copy to give away to a lucky Bumbles of Rice reader. To enter go to my Facebook Page and follow the instructions on the pinned post at the top, and good luck.
Disclosure: I received two copies of the book, one for review and one for a giveaway from O’Brien Press. I was not paid for this review and comments are my own honest opinion.