The old saying ‘an army marches on its stomach’, which has been attributed to Napoleon and Fredrick the Great, is still valid today and it was certainly so for Winston Churchill, whose love of food is widely known. During World War II, Churchill’s cook Georgina Landemare kept him fortified with not only a continual array of both nutritious soups and main courses but also delicious desserts and snacks. As a sign of his appreciation of her service, he brought her onto the victory dais on VE Day!
“Victory in the Kitchen” highlights Georgina’s life with particular reference to her time working for the Churchill’s, the war years and her continuing friendships with the family, in particular Clementine Winston’s wife. It is Dr Annie Gray’s most recent book, which explores not only food as an integral part of life during the Victorian and early Edwardian times in England, but as an indicator of a changing society. She not only tracks Georgina’s rise from nursemaid, scullery maid to head cook, but also the changes in London’s culinary world; Georgina’s development as a cook extraordinaire.
The author is widely acknowledged as the queen of food historian. In this detailed academic work, she has written a comprehensive account of the life of Georgina Landemare, from childhood to her death in 1978, her adaptability to the changing society and hence kitchens and utensils with the introduction of technology (although Georgina shied away from modern gadgets). The photos of Dr Gray’s subject included in this work, give the reader’s a greater understanding of the life and times of Georgina.
This easy to read book contains many recipes, which are no longer in general use, extensive notes as well as a comprehensive index. The author has also provided detailed references for readers, who wish to further explore cooking in Victorian/early Edwardian times.
I highly recommend this biography of a talented, successful woman, who played an important part in Winston and his family’s life to all readers who enjoy biographies, social histories or just recipes from the past.
|Allen and Unwin