50 best cook books of all time…what’s your favourite?

I’m intrigued.  The Guardian newspaper has just published 50 – 11 of the most popular cookbooks of all time.  I must confess I only knew about 5 of them.  This one grabbed my attention – 20 good things in England by Florence  White.  Founder of the English Folk Cookery Association, White was one of the earliest British journalists to write about food. This pioneering collection of more than 800 recipes, some dating as far back as the 14th century, is the finest expression of White’s passion for the nation’s cookery, which she believed was “the finest in the world”. A lost classic, it was finally republished by Persephone in 1999.

Aged 18, White was sent to live with two elderly aunts in Fareham, where she was introduced to traditional cookery. She later held a number of jobs, including schoolteacher and shopkeeper, before writing her first book Easy Dressmaking (1891), which was published by the Singer Sewing Machine Company and, over eight years sold 110,000 copies. This was followed by Good Things in England (1932), a traditional cookery book, Flowers as Food (1934) and an autobiography, A Fire in the Kitchen (1938). Good English Food was published posthumously in 1952. Good Things in England was also published by Persephone Books in 1999 and reprinted in 2003 and 2007.  The English Folk Cookery Association, set up in 1928, published the Good Food Register, a directory of restaurants and other places which produced English cooking, which White edited. In later years, White returned to Fareham and established a cookery and domestic training school there.

I had not heard of this woman, but I am now on quest to read her book……what’s your favourite cookbook…and will it be in The Observer’s top ten? I’ll hazard a wager that St Delia; Sir Nigel and possibly Lord Hugh might be in the mix somewhere. Not to mention Mrs Beeton and Mary Berry…..let’s wait and see…….here’s a link to their web page



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