Kitchen Essays (Persephone Classics)

Kitchen Essays (Persephone Classics) - Agnes Jekyll Agnes Jekyll explains in her introduction to Kitchen Essays that these pieces have been published in book form as a result of readers of "The Times" having requested such a ready reference. These traditional recipes and rituals straddle nostalgia and practicality, and make this a charming — and, surprisingly, useful — volume.

When I picked it up, I thought that I might leaf through, dawdle over a cup of tea and then settle into some proper reading with another Persephone, but I read more than half of the essays in a single sitting. And I was sure that I would skip over the recipes, but the preparation is very matter-of-fact and could clearly be employed as-is, providing the dish and its ingredients were to the reader’s taste.

Okay, fine: my lifestyle doesn’t require that I be acquainted with the chapter entitled “A Dinner Before the Play”. And, it’s true: I simply would never have cause to refer to “A Shooting-Party Luncheon”.

But there is one recipe and commentary which I can readily and enthusiastically employ:

“Toast, to be good, demands a glowing grate, a handy toasting-fork, and a patient watcher — counsels of perfection indeed, for the ideal rack is like friendship and the immortality of the soul, almost too good to be true.”

As a historic document, Kitchen Essays illuminates the tradition of English cookery in straightforward language and a cozy tone. And it reminds readers that the love of preparing and enjoying and sharing food crosses generations and geo-political borders as readily as one passes a plate of hot-buttered toast.

More here if you're interested.