Beauty and the Feast
A sumptuous series of classic food writing reveals how people have dined—and lived—over the years.
After spending some weeks luxuriating in the gorgeous presence of Penguin’s Great Food series—a collection of reprints that includes the genre’s classic titles from the past four hundred years—I have many questions. Would I ever actually make lambs’ ears with sorrel or fricassee of calves’ tongues, as suggested in Recipes from the White Hart Inn (1759)? Could I possibly live up to “the inward virtues of every housewife,” as detailed by Gervase Markham in The Well-Kept Kitchen (1615)? But perhaps most pressing is this inquiry, fortunately directed at someone living now: Designer Coralie Bickford-Smith, creator of covers I would happily eat if only paper were more easily digestible, will you please come redecorate my entire life?
Forget for a moment about Samuel Pepys, Alexandre Dumas, and nineteenth-century
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