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Good Things in England

2008/08/25

Wonderful, small, independent book shop on 109 Kensington Church Street, W8 7LN. Persephone “reprints forgotten classics by twentieth-century (mostly women) writers” ans also has a good line in old cookery books.

Persephone Bookshop

Persephone Bookshop

I confess to a bias, as I used to work in Elgin Books and when Elgin Books had to close down, it survived in a non-shop form for many years. However, it has now joined Persephone and its spirit lives on. I bought three books; two cookery and one fiction.

Good Things in England by Florence White is an amazing recipe book and record of old English recipes.

The blurb suggests: “‘Ever wondered how to cook Thomas Hardy’s frumenty, make Izaak Walton’s Minnow Tansies or pickle elder buds?’ asked the Sunday Telegraph. ‘Good Things in England is a collection of 853 regional recipes dating back to the C14th. First published in 1932, it was written by Florence White, the country’s first ever freelance food journalist, and, like all classic culinary works, it is a pleasure to read.

It gives a little history of some old English recipes from frumenty, blackberry wine, Norfolk dumplins, Queen Victoria’s bone marrow toast and Boodle’s Club’s Grouse stuffed with Bananas!

I also bought Plats du Jour by Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd – similarly wonderful but I haven’t had a chance to go through it in detail as yet.

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