Royal Heritage Cookbook Review

Sometimes, I think I should have called this blog 3 Weeks Of, because I never really do anything in 2 weeks, but then I remember that if I had done that, then I’d never finish anything in under 4 weeks, because I’m a procrastinator at heart.

I’ve also been knee deep in the writing process of my latest book, which is a terrible excuse, but alas, true.

I’ve still been cooking, though, so without further ado, here’s my review of The Royal Heritage Cookbook!

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From the book blurb:

“During the eighteenth century, ladies of high society kept handwritten notes on recipes and it became fashionable to exchange the most successful with friends and neighbours. This charming book is a compilation of fifty of the best recipes taken from the archives of the country houses of Britain and Ireland. Each recipe is shown in its original form accompanied by an up-to-date version created by professional chefs so that the recipes can be recreated today.”

So, old noble and royal recipes adapted to the XXI century! Let’s see who this book is for, and who it isn’t for!

THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU IF:

1. You like history, specifically, domestic British history

This book is above all else, a history book. Almost every recipe in it includes a picture of the original recipe, normally written in XVIII and XIX century Britain in neat penmanship, along with a short history of the food or who liked to eat it.

If you like historical food and you want to find out what pie Queen Elizabeth I loved or what dessert Queen Victoria wrote about in her personal cookbook, this is the book for you.

2. You like traditionally British Food

Unsurprisingly, this Cookbook is all about British food. You have a fair share of pies and meats, some curries and tea cakes. It’s a good selection of historical British food with modern adaptations to boot, so if you’re into this style of food, the book is worth picking up.

3. You like your cookbooks to come with wine pairings

I know nothing about wine apart from the fact that the ones I like are expensive, so I can’t tell you if the wine pairings on this cookbook are any good. They are present is a lot of the main course recipes, and that is unique enough in modern cookbooks that I’m sure a lot of people will get a kick out of it.

(Unrelated, but as I was typing main course, I remembered Americans call it entrée and my blood began boiling all over again. One day I’ll make a blog post dedicated to how much I hate that and it’ll be in all caps.)

THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR YOU IF:

1. You’re interested in the food that is/was served in England’s Royal Palace

From High Society and the Royal Court? Not an accurate description of this book. At all.

I feel bad about saying it, but this book cheats. It might be called “The Royal Heritage Cookbook”, but none of the recipes actually come from a Royal kitchen. Instead, the recipes hail from noble houses, with Royal anecdotes thrown in for good measure.

The vast majority of the recipes come from Lacock Abbey, to the point where calling the book “Historical Recipes from Lacock Abbey” would be far more intellectually honest than the published title (then again, it would probably sell a lot less).

So if the Royal Court bit was what interested you in this book, don’t bother picking it up.

2. You need pictures to accompany every recipe

We went over this regarding It’s All Good, but I love food pictures, they’re half the reason I even buy recipe books in the first place. The Royal Heritage Cookbook is disappointing in this regard: only a handful of recipes include pictures, and a lot of them don’t even feature the actual finished product, but a random stock photo semi-related to the recipe.

When it comes to food photography, this book is an abject failure.

3. You like pretty recipe cookbooks

This is what the best looking recipe in this cookbook looks like:

It includes a short history of the recipe, a handwritten photograph and a picture of the food. Not many recipes in the cookbook look this good or have this much information, but this is the best they can look.

The biggest issue? The best doesn’t look that great.

I’m the first person to admit being easily swayed by pretty things; the cinematography is one of the main components I look for in a movie (that and script, unsurprisingly). I like things to be pretty, and I would expect a book about Royal food and Court favorites to be pretty. Instead, the design of the book is basic, bland, and boring, a lazily put together modern concept with fun colors that doesn’t remotely fit the concept of the book.

These are two of the chapter title cards:

Those types of cakes don’t even feature in this book for the record!

Something that could have been a fun perk, the thematic menus, loses value when it’s presented in the blandest way imaginable:

Overall, not a good looking cookbook in the slightest.

WAS THE ROYAL HERITAGE COOKBOOK FOR ME?

Honestly? No.

I’ve tried a handful of recipes from “The Royal Heritage Cookbook” and they’ve been… Alright? I mean, apart from a ghastly dessert involving cream and wine (shudder Syllabub), they’ve been edible but not extraordinary in the slightest. This book is a mix of bland design and bland food, and after my two (three) weeks are done, I know I’m gonna shelf it indefinitely and never use it again. There are no pictures that make me salivate, no recipes that urge me to head to the kitchen, nothing that will make this worth a second glance.

The handwritten recipes are the only good thing about this book, but alone they’re not enough to make it worth the purchase.

It’s a pass for me 🙁

Xo,

Sara A.

5+

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