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Kitchen Essays (Classic edition)

by Agnes Jekyll

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A Well Full of Leaves
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Kitchen Essays

During 1921-2 (the now) Lady Jekyll wrote unsigned essays for The Times with titles such as 'Tray Food' and 'Sunday Supper', 'For the Two Fat' and 'For the Too Thin', all of which are contained in Kitchen Essays. Recipes are interspersed with her delightful comments, for example an excellent and very simple recipe for Caraway Tea Bread in 'Tea-Time and Some Cakes' is prefaced: "The true spiritual home of the teapot is surely in a softly-lighted room between a deep armchair and a sofa, two cups only, awaiting their fragrant infusion, whilst the clock points nearer to six than five, and a wood fire flickers sympathetically on the hearth."

The author of Kitchen Essays (1922) was sister-in-law to the great Gertrude Jekyll, whose biographer wrote that if she 'was an artist-gardener, then Agnes was an artist-housekeeper.' Agnes was a famous hostess (the guests at her first dinner party included Browning, Ruskin and Burne-Jones) and her home, Munstead House, 'was the apogee of opulent comfort and order without grandeur, smelling of pot-pourri, furniture polish and wood smoke'.

"An enchanting period piece and, in its own quirky intelligent way, a culinary gem" is how Nigella Lawson described Kitchen Essays; India Knight called it 'beautifully written, sparkling, witty and knowing, an absolute delight to read', while the BBC Food Magazine praised 'this exquisitely reprinted period piece'. 

Also available as a Persephone Grey.

Read What Readers Say

artfulreader via Instagram

A wonderful collection of short essays in cookery and recipes from the 1920s… I’m planning dinner for a few friends, and I want to try a few of the dishes from this (although not the Camembert in aspic: that’s a hard pass). What I also love about this are the essays themselves: Jekyll has this great no-nonsense voice that comes through and she is not afraid to share her opinions. Already in 1922 she complained that Christmas had become too commercial…

Categories: Classics

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