Delia Smith's Summer Collection


By Delia Smith, Viking, first American edition, 1995. The dust jacket copy says that this English offering “was the most phenomenal number-one best seller in British publishing history, with more than one million hardcovers sold.” I can believe it.

Very impressive, this book. It sends out a message to us Yanks that in recent years, the much more diverse citizenry of the UK has embraced the so-called new food revolution, and taken advantage the greater variety of international vegetables and fruits and spices and herbs in British markets

It would be easy to make the joke that the reason this book was such a best-seller is that there are almost no recipes that are traditionally British, but there, I’ve made it.. British home cooks no longer restrict themselves to traditional meat-and two-veg British fare and the occasional once-exotic curry from the carryout shop.

The selection of new dishes that include ingredients, cooking methods and dishes Smith and other middle-class Britons have made their own in recent years is wide – Asian Rim, Caribbean, Mexican, Southern Europe, the Arab States and even American influences.

She does make one mistake that, were I English, would term “ghastly.” Her recipe for a Chesapeake Bay crabcake – is so wrong. I don’t know where she picked this up, but she substitutes grated raw potato for bread crumb filler (which is always either omitted or added sparingly in the mid- Atlantic!) Beastly, Delia, beastly! A latke’s a latke and a crabcake’s a crabcake, got it? Otherwise, you're fab-u.

Hardback, with pictorial DJ, 213 pages. Color photos throughout. Condition: VG+/VG+.

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