Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management or Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery
After spending some time exploring the roots of Middle Eastern and Asian cookery I thought it might be fun to turn ourselves to England for a bit. Not overly known for its food culture, England in fact it tends to have a fairly poor reputation which is perhaps not 100 percent accurate. Contrary to popular opinion there is actually a number of significant English cooks from history that have contributed to our current Western food culture and have made the way for cooks and chefs like Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthol, Nigella Lawson, and Gordon Ramsey.
I thought it only appropriate that we begin with the woman who is considered to be the first and main authority for cookery writing, Mrs Isabella Beeton. Her Book of Household Management is not only a guide to when it is best to clean your house, how to manage your servants and balance your budget, but also contains hundreds of traditional recipes. This book is also known as Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery.
To explore this book is as much a trip through history as it is an exploration of the culture of the period and a delve into the diet of the times for the middle class. As I discovered when we focussed on Jane Grigson’s English Food last year, there is actually some amazing foods worth creating and sharing from this period of time. From bold spices we are taking a turn to delicate flavours where the quality of the produce will be imperative to maximising the flavours that we create.
If you don’t have a copy of this book and can’t get your hands on one, here is an online source for her recipes which I hope will help you for this month’s cooking explorations.
I can’t wait to see what comes out of our kitchen’s with our modern perspectives rooted in a traditional base. Remember it’s as much about what inspires from the book as following the recipe itself and I think its important to show that with interpretation these recipes can be as relevant in 2014 as they were when they were published in 1861.
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