The People’s Cookbook – Antony Worrall Thompson – review

UKTV Food was on to a winner with The People’s Cookbook. It wasn’t just a cookbook (the one you see before you) but a TV series of the same name. The judges for the competition, for competition it was, were Antony Worrall Thompson and Paul Rankin, but the authors of this book are the Great British Public.

The peoples cookbook Antony Worrall Thompson The People’s Cookbook represents what good food is all about. It’s good ingredients, family and friends, and recipes that people love. These recipes are not just a list of instructions but more documents of history and heritage, and a catalyst for stories of joy, tragedy, courage and fun. You’ll know that these recipes are going to be good because they have stood the test of time. If grandma’s bread pudding had the texture of a brick then it’s unlikely that the next generation would have bothered to preserve the recipe.

I could happily tuck into any of these dishes and I can understand why people are proud of them. They don’t just cover the spectrum of traditional British fare but reflect the ethnic diversity that truly is modern Britain. Some recipes have been adapted from the original if the ingredients were hard to find in the UK, but the recipes don’t seem to have suffered for that.

Ann Keeling has a recipe for Chicken Earl. No, this isn’t a scaled down version of Chicken a la King but a delicious bake of chicken, bacon and vegetables. It’s the recipe from Ann’s home economics teacher Mrs. Earl. A great dish to fill up a family of four boys.

Bill Meswania came to the UK as a refugee from Uganda. They were sent to a camp on Dartmoor before being relocated and the food was a shock. Bill offers Beteta Wada Spiced Gujarati Potato Balls which are delicious with a tangy mint and yoghurt dip.

This is a heart-warming and charming book. It has recipes that are easy to follow and not over-taxing. It has delightful pictures not only of the food but of parents and grandparents who are the originators of most of the recipes. The contributors are passing on their culinary memories and that’s a gift usually reserved for family members. It’s a lovely book and a treat to read.

The People’s Cookbook
Authors: The British Public with the help of Antony Worrall Thompson and Paul Rankin
Published by: Infinite Ideas Ltd.
Price: £9.99
ISBN 978-1-905940-75-2


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018