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Canteen - Great British Food

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Book Review - Canteen - Great British Food

Book Review - Canteen - Great British Food

Photo © Angela Moore

The Bottom Line

Without whistles, bells and grinning celebrities, this book is dedicated to showing what is great about British food. Despite its low-key cover (which by the way I love) step inside this unassuming book and you will be drawn in and fast heading for the kitchen.

Anyone who has ever criticised British food clearly hasn't read this book.

This is the book that I wish I had written.

Pros

  • Refreshingly unassuming yet stylish. A design classic.
  • Photography as above - stunningly beautiful in its simplicity
  • Accomplished, precise and easy to follow recipes
  • A collection of in their words - honest affordable food.
  • An ambassador for British food.

Cons

  • Only metric measures (sorry USA, Oz and the rest of my readers around the globe)
  • Predictable chapter headings.

Description

  • Canteen - Great British Food
  • Cass Titcombe, Dominic Lake, and Patrick Clayton Malone
  • Published by Ebury Press
  • £16.99
  • ISBN- 978-0-09-193632-7

Guide Review - Canteen - Great British Food

If I had written a book on great British food then this is exactly the way I would want it to be. In the author's own words - a splendidly comforting collection of 120 British recipes, paying homage to our signature dishes and resurrecting the country’s honourable tradition of affordable honest food.

The book does exactly that.

There are no whistles, bells and no grinning celebrity staring out at you. Instead a simple, retro-cover that though unassuming is housing a treasure trove of delicious British food. If you want froth, foams and the odd jus - wrong book. If you want good, honest British food then you are going to love this one.

The chapters flow in a somewhat predictable fashion of breakfast, starters/soups/small dishes, mains, pies, stews and so on - the thought given to all the other aspects of the book I guess I expected something a little different. Each of the 120 precise recipes, however, flow well through ingredient to method and occasionally the ingredients are out of synch with the recipe but it doesn't jar too much. What does jar is the lack of other than metric measures. Fine for me but I know many of you out there in the US, OZ, and the like will not be happy having to convert them (the few recipes I have extracted for this site have been converted for you).

My favourite part of the book is the index; reading down the pages means a trip through the heritage, history and locality of our food wrapped in nostalgia but with a generous dollop of modernity. Lancashire Hot Pot, Jelly and Buns sit happily alongside Beetroot Cake, Wild Mushroom Pies, Basil and Fennel Tarts.

And if all that isn't enough to have you running to the bookshop right now, there's the photography. At first I wasn't sure I liked it, some shots are startlingly simple with the food centre stage, others more styled. What they all are is simply beautiful food photography that drew me in and made me immediately want to cook the dishes they portrayed. What more would I want from an image in a cook book?
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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