Hunting for a Recipe Book Review
Published by Cheshire Hunt 2023 Anthology curated by Rachel Cooke
As a ‘trained’ book reviewer, a skill set that was achieved thanks to Oxford University Press and their understanding of the pecuniary needs of a poor law student, you come to understand that ‘normally’ – an important caveat in terms of this review, the process is straightforward.
The reviewer obtains the book, reads the book, reading again making notes and determines whether the author has met the needs of their audience. Finally, send the review off to the publisher, and if the book is good enough, and relevant to our subscribers, then publish the review in the review section of www.bailyshuntingdirectotry.com and tell our audience just why this book is worthy of their attention – see EASY!
However, the review of this book, a revised edition from the 2021 edition, did not quite follow that well-trodden process…
The first step was straightforward enough, book purchased, it looks great and, let’s face it any book with a foreword by Baily’s great friend Sir Johnny Scott Bt has to be worth reading. So it went into the Study for review.
When it arrives, the vitally important bit about the ‘review stage’ is that you MUST have the book, I KNOW I bought it, but to my surprise on checking, I didn’t actually have it any longer…the review pile was minus one. During an extensive search, during which I was forced to pause and ponder the important question of ‘Why is it that hunting and cookery books are always a great bath-time read?’. Regardless of this important intellectual exercise my search came up short of one volume and I realized in wasn’t in any of the usual ‘reviewers’ secret hideaways.
I discovered that in fact the book had been secretly ‘borrowed’ catalogued, filed and allocated its space on the Cookery bookshelf where it now sat in a ‘slightly used condition’ coverd as it was with a gentle dusting of Wholemeal flour, between an early Mrs Beeton on Household Management and the Aga Cookbook. Book retrieved, I started the review once more. Later on, much to the surtprise of the snoozing hounds’ who were busy guarding the Study, the book went missing yet again. Apparently, the retired hounds saw nothing and missed the intruder completely but, with a bit of scent work it was traced to the kitchen- which is probably a good place for it, unless of course you are a teeny bit weight conscious as the book is full of page after page of new exciting and delicious offerings.
Much like the original version this revised work has been specially curated across 5 continents to give a unique flavour of hunting, but also celebrating the community of all those that follow hounds and their various conventions and traditions. New additions include recipes from the Bloodhounds ‘following the clean boot’ As well as recipes it also showcases hunting photographs and hunt histories from more hunts stretching from the Kingdom of Fife to Pakistan, from foxhound packs, staghounds, French & Spanish boarhounds, minkhounds, harriers, beagles, and bassets. If the work had been a pure cookbook then perhaps a ‘Wiro’ binding or even wire clips would have ben bettr than a case binding, but it is not, is so much more that ‘just ‘ a donated and collated series of recipes and the author should be commended for her efforts in producing something that will be invaluable for cooks and of great interest to hungry readers for years to come
In summary, is this book a recipe book with added distractions from interesting histories and great photographs, OR is it a pictorial anthology of contributing hunts with accompanying recipes- my review suggests the latter as it provides the reader with the opportunity whilst kitchen, bed or bath bound to follow the scent of hunts worldwide and for that if nothing else it deserves a place in many a Christmas stocking both here and overseas. My one wish? Perhaps the ‘Outtakes’ section would have been so much better on Video!