England 1835. Eliza Acton is a poet who dreams of seeing her words in print. But when she takes her new manuscript to a publisher, she’s told that ‘poetry is not the business of a lady’. Instead, they want her to write a cookery book. England is awash with exciting new ingredients, from spices to exotic fruits. That’s what readers really want from women.
Eliza leaves the offices appalled. But when her father is forced to flee the country for bankruptcy, she has no choice but to consider the proposal. Never having cooked before in her life, she is determined to learn and to discover, if she can, the poetry in recipe writing. To assist her, she hires seventeen-year-old Ann Kirby, the impoverished daughter of a war-crippled father and a mother with dementia.
Over the course of ten years, Eliza and Ann developed an unusual friendship – one that crossed social classes and divides – and, together, they broke the mould of traditional cookbooks and changed the course of cookery writing forever.
I found this a very interesting and knowledgeable read, one that took me on a journey of food. It is 1835 in England, Eliza is a poet and would love to have her poems published but when she takes them to a publisher, they don’t want her to write poetry, they want her to write a cookery book. She doesn’t want to do this but when her circumstances change she has to. Eliza cannot cook so when she employs Ann, she doesn’t look back. It was a very interesting read to learn all about how to set up a cookbook back in the day and also what kinds of foods Eliza was dealing with. The research along with the food is rich and delightful and the recipes seem to come alive across the pages. A wonderful read and one I would certainly recommend if you are a foodie like me.
I received an ARC copy of this book for an honest review.
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2 thoughts on “The Language of Food By Annabel Abbs”
Reblogged this on Buried Under Books and commented:
This is not a book I would automatically pick up or even notice but…I am a foodie, of the homegrown variety, and I actually make many of the recipes I collect so, yes, this piques my interest. My thanks to Hannah for bringing it to my attention!
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Thank you Lelia for your kind words. I do hope you enjoy the book.