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Jamie's Great Britain is jam-packed with interesting takes on British dishes both familliar (Toad-in-the-Hole, Fish Pie, Victoria Sponge, Scotch Eggs, Yorkshire pud) and esoteric or eccentric (Welsh Surf & Turf of lamb and lobster, White Pepper Skate, Roast Quail Skewers with Celeriac & Fennel, Oysters Three Ways) plus some nostalgic (St Clement's Cake, Retro Arctic Roll, Trifle).
Many local specialties are represented, such as Cornish Pasties, Cranachan, Welsh Cakes, "King of Mash" Irish Champ, and Clootie Dumpling, all with a twist or two. Afternoon tea and cricket matches get a look-in with Earl Grey Tea Loaf, Eccles Cakes and some interesting variations on shortbread (lemon thyme-vanilla, lavender & honey). And there are introductions to local folks with their own small businesses, such as Wilkins Cider, Westcombe Cheddar, Arbroath Smokies and Mark's Bread. Some nice condiments and menu suggestions, too.
Jamie talks about the many cultural influences on British cooking and tosses a bit of history in with some of these dishes. There's a visit to the Lea & Perrins factory, for instance, and cooking with the Yemeni community of Cardiff. Add an unobtrusive undercurrent of sustainability - the reader is gently reminded that in the UK, certain less familliar fish like coley or gurnard taste wonderful in place of scarce cod, and prawns should be responsibly sourced; allotments are celebrated with photos and recipes.
Lots of nice salads, soups, veg, Sunday roasts, scrummy puds, a chapter on the seaside and a chapter on "wild food" i.e. game and foraging, plus my favourite, a chapter on breakfasts. This is a UK cookbook and all measurements are to UK standards - if cooking in the USA you'll need to translate them to US standards. That said, ingredients tend to be for the most part readily obtainable and not fancy, and neither are most of the recipes, which are conversational in tone; it's the combinations, presentation, and enthusiasm that set Jamie apart. This book is big and lavishly photographed, with loads of straightforward recipes (almost 400 pages, 2 pages to a recipe), cheerful, chatty, inspirational and fun. Jamie is on form.