Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Penguin Great Food Series

I'm about to report some old news, but it's new news to me. I just recently learned of the Penguin Great Food series of books that was published last year. Devoted to the best food writing from the last 400 years, the series includes books by the likes of Elizabeth David, Samuel Pepys, and Calvin Trillin. And what just might be the icing on the cake are the book's charming paperback covers. In fact, that's what initially caught my eye when I first saw these books. While the cover art is a feast for the eyes, it's what inside that is sure to provide much (great) food for thought. (Sorry, I just couldn't help myself with that last sentence!)

From Absinthe to Zest: An Alphabet for Food Lovers by Alexandre Dumas

The Well-Kept Kitchen by Gervase Markham.

Murder in the Kitchen. by Alice B. Toklas by Alice B. Toklas.

The Joys of Excess by Samuel Pepys.


  1. Samuel Pepys wrote a cook book? Amazing, and it is still in print! Mary

  2. Wow , how wonderful would those be with large matting, maybe in a butlers pantry!! Great post!!!

  3. Have not seen these. Must have one.

  4. The covers would look great framed, or even artfully arranged on a table. Love, love the cover art!

  5. you had me at the covers, then the titles! Ordering them all on amazon now!

  6. Splendid- Hope you enjoy them! I can't wait to read the ones that I ordered.

  7. I loved the covers too...until I bought them...sorry to be a killjoy here, but these books are very abridged, ultra slim- Penguin have simply cut up and extracted exisiting books in their current lists, and re-issued them with the snazzy covers.

    They remind me of those freebies you get with the Sunday newspapers. If only Penguin had issued them in their original form!

  8. Luke, You're no killjoy! Thanks for letting me know. I've read a few of the books (not as published in this series), and they're such wonderful books that one wonders why Penguin felt the need to abridge them!

  9. Alice B. Toklas's so-called "Murder in the Kitchen" is a case in point. I may be wrong here, but I think this Penguin edition is made up from edited extracts of "The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook".

    The Folio Society published a nice affordable edition of this in hardback, in a slipcase- I would recommend that one or a vintage edition...

    The Penguin Great Food series is clearly aimed at people who don't read much, it's a bit like the Reader's Digest- I'm not sure that this is a good development for Penguin- despite those fabulous covers. I fell for them too.

    And no, Sam Pepys never wrote a cookery book!