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Reviewed by Jen Kulman
Jamie Oliver always comes across as such a genuine, likable person. His down-to-earth, friendly personality really shines through in Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain too. Of course Jamie has written several cookbooks before, but this one is special because it focuses on his heritage. This book is a compilation of foods that Jamie grew up on and are commonly offered in Britain. He writes in the introduction that he wanted to offer pure comfort food, dishes that aren’t a bit fussy or complicated, but will just make the diners incredibly happy.
The introduction and explanation provided for each recipe is a huge part of what makes this cookbook so fascinating. I don’t know a lot about traditional British dishes and really loved reading about them from such an authentic source. Sure, most of us have heard of Bubble & Squeak and Shepherd’s Pie, but there are loads of others that aren’t nearly as well known. The explanations are also enjoyable thanks to Jamie’s writing. He gets right to the point, but he also uses funny British expressions and likes to tell a bit of a story.
Another huge plus is the stunning photos. Every recipe is paired with a full color photo that fills an entire page. This definitely caused me to stop and consider some of the recipes that I may have passed by if I had just read the dish title. It’s particularly helpful for the more unusual dishes, like the Yemeni Pancakes, Legendary Clootie Dumpling, and Retro Arctic Roll. In addition to the food photos, there are also pages featuring Jamie and his family, and some really great photographs of the local sights and people. Reading this is like embarking on an amazing food tour of Britain.
Recipes are categorized into thirteen chapters, from Breakfasts to Wild Food to Condiments, so there’s a bit of just about everything. I like the wide variety from which to choose. He offers some wonderfully unique salads, and has some great selections in the Pub Grub section. My favorite chapter was Afternoon Tea, full of tasty little cakes and breads that are meant to be enjoyed casually. Granted, there are a few dishes they were unappealing to me, but overall, this is a brilliant cookbook that I enjoyed tremendously. Even if you have no intention of cooking a thing, it’s so much fun to sit down and read Jamie’s thoughts and ideas.
Jen lives in Michigan with her husband and five year old son. She writes reviews of children’s book on her blog, FIRR-Kids. She enjoys trying new recipes and using her baking as an excuse to add more cookbooks to her collection.
Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Hyperion. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.
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