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Publishers WeeklyEven casual cooks will gain a greater appreciation for the creature comforts of the kitchen after spending some time with this fascinating collection of stories and ephemera from the Victorian kitchen to WWII. Drawing heavily from Victorian domestic guides such as Beetons Book of Household Management, authors and editors Drury and Lewis (The Victorian Garden Album) take readers on a guided tour of the kitchen through time, heavily illustrated with images of equipment, advertisements, and labels from bygone eras. Readers will be struck by the effort it took to get a meal on the table, often requiring the aid of household staff; duties we may now take for granted, such as procuring hot water for cooking and cleaning laundry, were laborious affairs even for the affluent. In its second half, the book examines typical staples like preserves, cakes and Victorian ingredients, as well as sample menus (including one for a "servantless dinner"). Selections from the authors' extravagant collection of full-color images-from vintage catalogues, cookbooks, and circulars-are the real stars of this show. While the book offers an admittedly romantic take on the era, Drury and Lewis pull together a collection that informs and entertains.
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