From time to time, you might see a book in the catalogue listed as Stack. These are books which are housed behind the scenes in the Central Library - items that the Library definitely wants to keep, but for some reason (e.g. older condition, or not in as high demand) the open shelf is not the right place for them. Most can be borrowed.

Please ask at the enquiries counter on the Second Floor and staff will be happy to retrieve them.

This webpage will highlight some of these nearly forgotten treasures - note that the author's selections and recommendations of these golden oldies are entirely idiosyncratic!

(Last updated, 9 July 2007)

Food & Wine

This month our Stack topic is Food & Wine - including a book by Queen Victoria's chief chef! Have a browse.

Amazon book jacketLet's cook it right, by Adelle Davis (1947).
This book, written just after the war and reprinted many times since, was almost a bible for whole food advocates of the seventies and eighties. The American author's aim was help the home home cook "prepare delicious, attractive looking foods and apply the principles of good nutrition at the same time". It is described as "the complete cookbook... a simple manual for the use of foods for maximum health and well being".

Mrs Beeton's game cookery (1989).
This book is an unusual amalgamation of two works - Mrs Beeton's 'Everyday cookery' - the recipes described in the preface as 'easy' - and a version of her well known work on household management. This 1893 edition (1989 reprint) contains advertisements for foodstuffs and household appliances in the manner of the period, and is liberally illustrated with little black and white cameos of the featured food as well as tables and coloured plates. A charming period piece.

Enjoying wine, by Don Hewitson (1985).
In this book the author, an ex-pat New Zealander who created the widely esteemed Cork and Bottle wine bar in London and wrote a wine column for The Times, discusses the important factors concerning the selection and enjoyment of wine. It is arranged by country, with many attractive colour photographs. Don also answers frequently asked questions about wine.

Thyme for cookery, by Des Britten (1973)
A real trip down memory lane for Kiwis of a certain age who remember Des's cookery show of the same name on TV and his renowned Wellington restaurant, The Coachman. It is filled with sensible advice and really good recipes, even if some are a little dated and heavy for the modern taste. There are lots of bluish photographs of Des doing his show and black and white photographs of the food.

Accept with pleasure: a book about food written for those who like to share the good things of life with their friends, by Lady Patricia Harris (1969).
Lady Harris is the veteran of many years of successful party giving and in this charming little book - liberally illustrated with evocative black and white drawings - she shares some of her most successful recipes, often sharing an anecdote about them on the way. There are some really delicious-sounding recipes here - you will want to try them. The dedication is to her husband, who neglected to ask if she could cook before proposing. It does not seem he had cause to worry.

The art of the table, by Pamela Vandyke Price (1962).
The author used to be Entertainment editor of 'House and Garden' and became known to a wider public through radio and television. This book is full of ideas which the private hostess can put to good effect - setting the menu, tips about tableware, cloth, napkins and mats, setting and service, flowers and table decoration, and the choice and service of wine, among many other topics. It is liberally illustrated with black and white and colour photographs and diagrams. Although quite dated - the book was produced in 1962 - it still contains much valuable information.

Tritton's guide to better wine and beer making for beginners, by Suzanne Tritton (1965).
Mrs Tritton is a noted expert in home wine making - she studied the subject in Britain, South Africa and on the continent and wrote what is regarded as the standard work on the subject - 'The amateur winemaker'. She subsequently became concerned to raise the quality of home made wine and this book contains much more in depth information on the topic.

All about tea. Vol. 1, by William H. Ukers (1935).
From alcoholic beverages to the cup which cheers but does not intoxicate: this large book is an encyclopaedia on the topic as it was perceived in 1935. It has many chapters devoted to tea-producing countries, the wholesale trade throughout the world - including major firms and marketing bodies in Britain and the United States - and also more prosaic entries, such as information on different sorts of tea making vessels. A quaint look at the world as it was in 1935, and a very interesting read for those who enjoy tea.

A plain cookery book for the working classes, by Charles Francatelli (1977).
The title of this book is amusing to us today but its author, Queen Victoria's chief cook, had a very serious purpose in writing it. He wanted working people and their families to enjoy a nutritious and well balanced diet within their limited means. Some of the recipes seem to be quite delicious, and the advice sensible such as saving the stock from boiling meat and chicken for soup and "bulking it up" with dumplings. It is a nice little facsimile edition and worth a look for nostalgic reasons.

Come into the garden, cook, by Constance Spry (1942).
Constance Spry is an absolute byword in English food and cookery circles - she ran a cookery and flower arranging school for many years with her friend Rosemary Hume - Winkfield Place in Ascot. She was also a gifted gardener and has combined her talents to produce this book. Vegetables were a mainstay of the British table during the last war (this book was produced in 1942), and Constance used every edible part of the plant - leaves and stems, fruit and flowers, pods, roots. From them she made soups, salads, sauces, sweets and many other dishes. This is a lovely little book, beautifully written - a real pleasure to read. It is enhanced by many black and white drawings.

Family meals, by Emily Carpenter (1965).
This Otago University Extension Bulletin is reminiscent of a time when homemaking was taken seriously, and the whole family sat down to eat together. The little book deals with proper nutrition, meal planning, making provision for seasonal variations and budgeting for maximum economy. It also gives tips on cooking to save time and energy, something which is invaluable to the young mother (and to all working women).

Today's woman prize kitchens, by Victor Civkin (1952).
Although not a cookbook, this 1952 book about 1952 gives a tantalising glimpse into the post-war heart of the American home. In the light of our own streamlined, modern kitchens and many labour-saving devices it is intensely interesting to see what was regarded as state of the art barely fifty years ago - did they really have all that stuff? Its sepia-coloured drawings and photographs evoke the austerity of the period. This book also contains many cooking and ergonomic tips, discussions of the merits of many appliances, and a special chapter on adaptations for the handicapped.

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