Fresh off the back of Kitchen Confidential, with his punk rock chef energy still at its peak, Anthony Bourdain was asked for the three essential cookery books he would recommend to anyone. The first two were unsurprising: Fergus Henderson’s Nose to Tail Eating and Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook. The third was a little more homely: “Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” he said. “It’s fundamental.”
While there may occasionally be a wide berth given by professional chefs when it comes to home cook staples, the old masters knew what they were talking about – and Constance Spry is a towering figure in the canon of culinary classics, predating Child, Delia Smith and Fanny Craddock. The British author and educator, born in Derby in the late 1800s, wrote this 1,065-page collection of recipes after launching a domestic science school with Rosemary Hume, and it reads with the kind of erudite authority of someone looking to educate as much as they are to excite.
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