“What we have here is a clear and enlightened account of cookbooks up to the Victorian era.” — Tom Jaine in Petits Propos Culinaires

Petits Propos Culinares is an excellent source of information on food studies and food history, and one of Mark’s and my favorite journals. We’re very happy to see that the latest issue contains a short review of The Cookbook Library.

I recall talking to Mark Cherniavsky about a book along these lines in the early days of my tenure of Prospect Books. How lucky the authors are in their choice of publishers: the UCP, in their ‘Studies in food and culture’, of which this is number 35, under the supervision of Darra Goldstein, have served them magnificently. They have ample space, handsome illustration, tasteful typography (in two colours) and excellent design to lay out for us envious readers the bones of their remarkable collection of cookery books. Anne Willan has in a sense been here before in her much-quoted and often-appreciated Great Cooks and their Recipes (1977). But don’t think you can economize by not buying today because you bought yesterday. What we have here is a clear and enlightening account of cookbooks up to the Victorian era. As an appendix to each chapter there is also a selection of commented recipes: these are both lucid and revealing and might even provoke you to cook a ‘Yorkshire Christmas pie of five birds’—it’ll take you a bit of time but Anne Willan gives you much guidance. There is also a fine index and an excellent bibliography. Would that all collectors were so intelligent. Bravo! — Tom Jaine, Petits Propos Culinaires