The Concise Mrs Beeton's Book of Cookery

This book is an essential part of my kitchen.

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JPOC rating

Ten out of ten. A fine book. You cannot buy a better cookery book than Mrs Beeton's.

JPOC's review

I find that this book is an absolutely essential part of my kitchen. Not for specific recipes but for general information and advice on cullinary technique.

If you want a book in which every page has a glossy photo of an end result and a simple to follow recipe in big type and breathless prose then you should look elsewhere.

I like this book because, whatever I go out and buy, I can look here and find half a dozen ways to cook it and a number of specific recipe suggestions. I then use this as a starting point to my own ideas.

Of course, there are individual recipes in here which you can follow, as written, with great success but to give you a flavour of the book I'll describe a few chapters.

The chapter on savoury rice and other grains is thirteen pages long. It includes sixteen recipies and more variations on each. In addition there are four pages that describe all of the types of rice that are available together with cooking notes and techniques.

The chapter on meat covers not just recipes but advice on buying, selecting good meat and carving it.

Everthing is covered in the same way in simple, consise but comprehensive form. In addition, there are extensive chapters on general kitchen technique and the use of individual ingredients.

Having this book in the kitchen is a bit like having your favourite aunt, the one who knows everything, available, on call ready to help all the time.

My wife tells me that I am a wonderful cook. I'm not, I'm just a man who owns a copy of this book and who reads the relevant pages every time that I prepare to be Mr Chef.

There is also a non-culinary section at the end which includes chapters on diet, first aid, health care and (oh yes indeed) what to do if introduced to the Queen of England! With the exception of things like that last item, the advice is good and of interest to most people.

It's a great book and every household should have a copy.