The Full English Cassoulet: Making Do In the Kitchen

Richard Mabey

The Full English Cassoulet: Making Do In the Kitchen

Richard Mabey began experimenting with cooking as soon as he was big enough to clamber to the cupboard where the powdered chocolate was kept. At scout camp he learned how to cook a Sussex Pond Pudding in a billy-can, and thirty years ago he permanently broadened the nation's palate with his guide to edible wild plants, Food For Free. His new book is a joyous exploration of local ingredients, broadening your horizons by travelling, vernacular heritage, and making use of everything except, as the saying goes, 'the pig's squeal'. It includes: Collecting Corsican chestnut receipes and American mushroom ideas, and meditating on what a forest-food culture would have been like; Cooking eggs in nothing but the sun; Making bread the prehistoric way - with old beer; Exploring the outer limits of apple cusine (i.e. the outer limit is making leather out of apples); 'Cooking against the grain' - if we didn't have access to wheat, what could we make with nuts? How to deal with gluts - those autumn mountains of beans and courgettes; Making-do the wartime way - canny tricks his mother taught him; re-introducing his father's passion for offals. 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
The Full English Cassoulet: Making Do In the Kitchen

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Food & Drink
Format Hardback
Pages 256
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication October 2008
ISBN 978-0701182533
Publisher Chatto & Windus
 

Richard Mabey began experimenting with cooking as soon as he was big enough to clamber to the cupboard where the powdered chocolate was kept. At scout camp he learned how to cook a Sussex Pond Pudding in a billy-can, and thirty years ago he permanently broadened the nation's palate with his guide to edible wild plants, Food For Free. His new book is a joyous exploration of local ingredients, broadening your horizons by travelling, vernacular heritage, and making use of everything except, as the saying goes, 'the pig's squeal'. It includes: Collecting Corsican chestnut receipes and American mushroom ideas, and meditating on what a forest-food culture would have been like; Cooking eggs in nothing but the sun; Making bread the prehistoric way - with old beer; Exploring the outer limits of apple cusine (i.e. the outer limit is making leather out of apples); 'Cooking against the grain' - if we didn't have access to wheat, what could we make with nuts? How to deal with gluts - those autumn mountains of beans and courgettes; Making-do the wartime way - canny tricks his mother taught him; re-introducing his father's passion for offals.

Reviews

The Guardian

William Leith

A point he makes early on is that, when it comes to making food, he loves improvising because this is the way of cooks throughout history — faced with scarcity, people do their best, and sometimes come up trumps... It's a simple idea, and it's a real pleasure to read. Perhaps Mabey loves scrimping, and therefore being inventive, more than he hates western waste and overconsumption. In any case, he describes the making of food with such purity and simplicity that the reader feels close to the action — here is Polish plum soup, and a dish made out of windfalls, celery and bacon, and things made out of wild garlic and homegrown courgettes. It's all very healthy, and you could do it yourself, and, for the reader, that feels good.

29/11/2008

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The Sunday Times

Bee Wilson

He admits that what he is offering is “an entirely personal and whimsical selection”. Indeed. The collection is heavy on offal (liver chop suey, mustard kidneys, stuffed heart), fruit soups (Polish plum, or melon and ham) and chestnuts (bread, flan, pancakes). What makes the book a small delight, however, are the informed details with which Mabey scatters his prose, like wild flowers in a salad. He confesses that he always keeps a quince in his car in the autumn “as a natural perfume”. He reveals that you can make a soup from nothing but turnips, butter and a stock that tastes so rich that all who eat it will assume it is laced with cream.

16/11/2008

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