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WHITE, Florence.

Good Things in England.

A Practical Cookery book for Everyday Use. Containing Traditional and Regional Recipes suited to Modern Tastes contributed by English Men and Women between 1399 and 1932.

Published: London, Toronto, New York: Jonathan Cape, 1932

Stock code: 104630

Price: £1,500

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First edition, first printing, with the scarce dust jacket, of this classic book by the founder of the English Folk Cookery Association. Born in 1863, White’s somewhat unhappy childhood, shopping “economically for food (since the family was by then poor), waiting on her uncongenial stepmother, and teaching the three small children of her father’s third marriage” (ODNB), was relieved when she was sent to Fareham “to nurse her father’s two elderly sisters, formerly proprietors of the Lion Hotel and Assembly Rooms. From them, as she later described in her autobiography, she learned that ‘good epicurean country-house cookery which had been handed down the family from mother to daughter since the days of Queen Elizabeth’. Her return to Fareham towards the end of her life, when she opened a cookery school there, was directly inspired by her memories of learning traditional English cooking techniques, an accomplishment of which she never ceased to be proud”. Only when in her sixties “living in frugal semi-retirement in a Chelsea basement room” supported by freelance journalism, did Florence formally begin to research her lifelong passion, good, traditional English food. In 1928 she founded the English Folk Cookery Association, and in 1932 published Good Things in England, her manifesto, as well as editing the first of the association’s Good Food Registers, which contained information passed on by contributors about towns, villages, hotels, restaurants, or even humble guest houses in which good English cooking or foodstuffs could be found. The book contains regional specialities as well as numerous traditional favourites, encompassing recipes from the England of Chaucer’s time right up to the modern day. A couple of pages of pencilled notes loosely inserted, together with a contemporary clipped review from an unidentified source which concludes that Good Things in England is in “itself undoubtedly a Good Thing”.

Octavo. Original beige cloth, titles to spine in blue, dark blue top-stain. With unclipped typographical dust jacket. Frontispiece and 3 other plates. Bottom corners just bumped, pale toning, else very good in very slightly rubbed jacket, short split with slight loss at the head of the spine, just biting the initial “G” of the title.

Bibliography: Bitting p.493

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