Cookbooks are glorious, sumptuous creations that temp and entice, regardless of whether they are ever used as an actual cookbook, or simply enjoyed for what they offer, a peek into a world of food, via creative chefs, talented home cooks or history.
The Secret Garden Cookbook from Amy Cotler contains all of these things; temptation, history and lovely recipes that have been cooked and enjoyed for many generations, regardless of whether they have come from the kitchens of the wealthy or the poor.
Based on the beloved children’s book The Secret Garden from Frances Hodgson Burnett, Amy Cotler has carefully selected a wide range of traditional and much-loved recipes, updating them for the modern kitchen, which will once again, be enjoyed for their delicious nourishing, home cooked taste.
Fans of The Secret Garden will well remember the tale of two lonely children, Mary Lennox, the heroine, and Colin, relocated to a part of the world they were far from familiar with, both unwell, both far from their homes and loved ones. They discover an old, long neglected garden, along with young Dickon a local lad from a working-class family, where food was a much-respected item. Over time they create a secret world where they too, like the plants begin to flourish.
The story is based on magic; the magic of making things come alive, grow strong and flourish. Set in Victorian England, during the reign of Queen Victoria, when many went hungry, food was to the poorer classes scarce, expensive and seasonal; often a little was made to go a long way, feeding many mouths at the table.
Beautifully set out the book begins with Yorkshire Breakfast, detailing the background, adding little snippets from The Secret Garden then offering many recipes which would be considered normal for the ‘big house’ but far from normal elsewhere.
An English Tea is explained, along with the history which goes back to 18th century and a selection of dishes and teas that may have been served. From the Kitchen Garden rejoices in the plenitude of the summer harvest of fruit and vegetables, while Dickon’s Cottage Food looks at the more wholesome, robust cakes cooked by his mother to feed a growing family.
India played a very big part in Victorian England with many of the dishes such as Mulligatawny Soup, Kedgeree and Sooji being introduced to the English dining table. Al of these were prepared to tempt Mary to eat, as she had grown up in India.
Throughout the pages there are charming additions that explain the origins of the foods and recipes, as well as the relation to The Secret Garden and the children. Country Style illustrations also help to create a delightful ‘olde worlde’ ambience to the books.
The Secret garden Cookbook would have to be considered as a must have for fans and certainly a joy for cooks everywhere, as they recreate so many delicious treats from years gone by.
|Author||Frances Hodgson Burnett and Amy Cotler|
|Publisher||Quarto US/Harvard Common Press|