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Book reviews — December 1984

IRONS IN THE FIRE, by Rachael Field
pub. Crowood Press £13.50
"Why did the shelves of the eighteenth century kitchens glean with rows of copper pots and pans? When was the kitchen range or canned food invented? Why are the English so addicted to roasting?"

So reads the fly-leaf notes of Irons in the Fire (a history of cooking equipment) and Rachael Fields sets out to answer these and many other questions. The title of the book belies the amount of information within its covers. The author has looked at cooking facilities and the methods used through the ages in the broadest sense and pauses to reflect on seemingly unrelated issues such as the re-introduction of brickmaking into post Roman Britain. She deals with "the kitchen inside and out, food preparation, various methods of methods of cooking, puddings and drinks, preserving and gadgets." There is a list of places of interest to visit, a glossary, a chapter on metals and techniques, bibliography, references and an index.

The book is written in a style that lured me deeper and deeper into its pages, it is entertaining, very well researched and has 170 well captioned illustrations. It is not cheap but Christmas is coming and you might drop an appropriate hint or two. Alternatively there is always your public library. Peter Skilton

pp192 Granada Publishing 1984 £10.95 hardcovers (paperback ed out in 1985)
Professor Minchinton, who has just lectured to GLIAS on the subject of tidemills, here attempts to find a new format for the general IA guide and to a large extent the format works well. He covers Britain in a series regional/county studies and presents the sites in a graded list, i.e. the prime sites, about six per county, that should not be missed in a visit to the area are described in, detail while the lesser ones are only briefly described. In no way is the book a comprehensive guide to an area but very much a touring guide. It is well illustrated both with photographs and drawings and the entries appear accurate having been checked by local IA people before publication. A useful book but probably best value is the paperback which is due out in the New Year. David Perrett

© GLIAS, 1984