in the UK
This pseudonymous book was published in 1860, provoked by an exchange of correspondence in The Times in the previous year on the relative merits of English and French cookery and on the best system for arranging the service of dinner: to be or not to be a la Russe. It is full of sound sense. There is lots of discussion of the best way to plan a meal, serve a meal, devise recipes, equip a kitchen, light a dining-room, buy furniture at the outset of married life, and generally comport yourself at home. There is much thought about French and English cookery, without chauvinism or prejudice, and there are excellent recipes. Puddings and soups are particularly strong suits. These tend to address the basics, not the curlicues, of household cookery, and are attended with intelligent comments about getting things right at the outset. 'The late Lord Dudley truly said, "A good soup, a small turbot, a neck of venison, and an apricot tart, is a dinner fit for an emperor." Let, then, your dinner be based on this principle, for in proportion to its smallness ought to be its excellence both as to the quality of its materials and its cookery. Big dinner, honest opinion. This is a facsimile edition, although the impression has been enlarged beyond a true facsimile in order to make it easier to read. The most celebrated living authority on British culinary history, Alan Davidson, contributes an introduction to this first-rate overview of mid-Victorian dining as well as identifying the man behind Tabitha Tickletooth: the actor Charles Selby.
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