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The Country Life Cookery Book

by Ambrose Heath

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ILLUSTRATED BY ERIC RAVILIOUS PREFACE BY SIMON HOPKINSON
248pp
ISBN 9781903155998

 

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. Ambrose Heath’s voice was ‘entirely that of a homegrown enthusiast. An intellect and ingenuity, thrift and humour, good taste and provenance, together with a charming indifference to a majority of precise measurements or timings, quite delight this present day reader. I would give anything to be allowed to compose recipes this way, this day, for a cookery book – and to have the beautiful engravings of Eric Ravilious as decoration throughout just as a wistful reverie.’ For, indeed, the other reason for reprinting this book, apart from the usefulness of the recipes, is that it has a dozen delightful Ravilious illustrations with which most people will be unfamiliar (this cookery book has never been reprinted before and secondhand copies are fiendishly expensive.) We are delighted to have had a collaboration with Country Life magazine and to be able to republish this unique book both for its readers and for ours at an affordable price.

 

Endpaper

 

Endpapers taken from an early 1930s design for a textile by Josef Hillerbrand for Morton Sundour.

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Categories: Men (books by)    Cookery Books   
 

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