“Take a Goose or Duck” Now Available!

Take a Goose or a Duck is full of culinary stories about old friends like Markham and Mrs. Beeton and essays that give fresh insight. It proves that British food is intriguing and wonderful. It will be my favourite bedtime reading for the foreseeable future. ~ Regula Ysewijn, author of Pride and Pudding and The Official Downton Abbey Christmas Cookbook
In Take a Goose or a Duck, Cynthia Bertelsen takes on two persistent myths of modern culinary history with a breezy, casually conversational style, and solid research that is anything but casual. As she champions Britain’s unjustly maligned culinary heritage, she also presents a lively argument for the often-ignored yet critical role it played in shaping our own. ~ Damon Lee Fowler, author of Classical Southern Cooking and recipe developer and editor for Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance
Take a Goose or a Duck is a comprehensive exploration of English cooking and its influence in America. A proper page-turner, this study of culinary history is as addictive as it is entertaining. This is an essential read for cookbook enthusiasts and history buffs on both sides of the pond. ~ Sam Bilton, author of First Catch Your Gingerbread
Cynthia Bertelsen dips her finger deeply into every delicious pie in these essays. She is an M.F.K. Fisher for a new century. Take a Goose or a Duck: Eclectic Essays on English Cookery Through the Ages is essential, beyond measure, for every worthy kitchen and culinary collection. ~ Leo Racicot, author of Alone in the Yard: Buddhist, Beat & Otherwise

From fat dormice to spicy Tikka Masala, Take a Goose or a Duck outlines the incredible journey of English cooking through the centuries. What did the Romans cook in Britannia? Where did Henry VIII’s Hampton Court cooks get the ingredients needed to feed hundreds of people every day? How did English sailors survive long voyages to the New World? Why did English manor houses like Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey, come about? What lies behind recipes inspiring participants on “The Great British Baking Show”? Why is English cooking the Mother Cuisine of the United States? And why is culinary appropriation a fallacy?

Using original sources, historic cookbooks, and vintage recipes, Cynthia D. Bertelsen explores England’s vast culinary history in this collection of quirky and provocative essays.

3 thoughts on ““Take a Goose or Duck” Now Available!

  1. A copy of your book arrived, yesterday, and I’ve started to look through some of the essays.

    My first impression is that the volume is rather like one of those collections of Elizabeth David’s articles originally written for magazines or newspaper columns: an interesting selection of topics, well-sourced and with a coherent underlying theme or premise. It feels a bit strange to be English and to see the cuisine I know so well reflected in a mirror, so to speak. You should explore Florence White. The material she selected in ‘Good things in England’ is probably more representative of typical English food (of its time) than either Acton or Beeton in theirs. From broadly the same period, ‘The Gentle Art of Cookery’ by Mrs CF Leyel & Miss Olga Hartley gives a fascinating insight into finer English cooking in the years between the Great War and WWII. More recently, Arabella Boxer’s ‘English Food’ also looks back to the same period. There’s material, there, for several new articles in your blog; for you have left the story of English Food unfinished, so great have been the changes since the Great War.

    I’m enjoying your writing. The book invites dipping into and I am amassing a list of several of the sources you cite for further reading. Good books about food should be about more than cookery, and certainly more than recipes (although there’s nothing wrong with ‘just’ recipe books, either). It’s nice to see Jane Grigson getting a mention (but she should come with a public health warning about the potentially lethal doses of nitrates in several of her curing recipes). I’m not sure I find an answer to the question posed in your last essay: Just what is American cuisine? Not hot dogs, certainly. Germany would have something to say about that. I pity you having to eat American chocolate, but I suppose you can buy proper chocolate imported from just about anywhere else. And you really should try goose, although Bob Cratchit could no longer make any claim about cheapness. It seems rather sad that so fine a bird might only turn up, frozen and wrapped in shiny white plastic – and that’s in a ‘fine food purveyors’?

  2. Your new book looks interesting. I see from the Kindle preview that you quote Florence White’s ‘Good Things in England’, which should be on everyone’s bookshelves. I’m looking forward to reading it.

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