Monday, January 25, 2010
The Virago Book of Food
'A delightful selection of literary canapes' states the Evening Standard. I would also hasten to add 'delicious', in the sense that you could sit for ages gobbling up snippets from this wonderful book. There are several paragraphs interspersed throughout from Barbara Pym's books which brought about a 'wonderful' from R who was trying to be happy for me. From Excellent Women, 'I made myself what seemed an extravagant lunch of scrambled eggs preceded by the remains of some soup, and followed by cheese, biscuits and an apple. I was glad that I wasn't a man, or the kind of man who looked upon a meal alone as a good opportunity to cook a small plover, though I should have been glad enough to have someone else cook it for me.' Other culinary descriptions from books include works by Elizabeth Taylor, Katherine Mansfield, Beatrix Potter, Sylvia Plath, Sarah Waters, Emily Bronte and Virginia Woolf. Short though still delightful is 'I am glad the new cook begins so well. Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.' Written by Jane Austen to Cassandra at Chawton. Non-fiction writings by domestic doyenne's are included as well. So if you're interested in reading the thoughts of Mrs Beeton or Fanny Farmer among others, you will find interesting advice scattered here and there. An abundance of writings by various aristocrats and ladies from more humble homes throughout history, are presented as well. I just bought this yesterday but couldn't resist telling everyone about its existence before I've explored it more thoroughly. Many of you will no doubt have it on your shelf already but if you don't, please look for it! It has had me smiling ever since I brought it home.