The Friday Five – cookbooks fit for a Queen


Celebrating in the best way


So I’ve missed the Queen’s 90th birthday by a day, and I hope she had a lovely lunch with all the people who were popping in. If Michelle Obama wants to pop in her for lunch today, then that’s fine with me too, she can be my surprise guest any time.

At the last Jubilee, I wrote about cookbooks from the eras of the Queen’s reign, so to celebrate this landmark, then these are cookbooks linked, some vaguely, to the many charities and organisations that the Queen is involved in, many of which will be represented at the upcoming Patron’s Lunch.

The WI Cookbook: The First 100 Years


The WI Cookbook


Amazing that the Queen has been around nearly as long as the WI, but I think they perfectly complement each other. I like that this book also sets the recipe in the historical and social context of its time, showing how the WI has actually kept pace with the times. Not unlike the Queen I guess. I love some of the chapter titles, like Keeping the Country Together and The Times They Are a Changing. I rather like this for its social history of British cooking, I’m quite tempted by this.


John Torode’s Beef


John Torode's Beef


No, John Torode is not a charity, but the Queen is patron of The Red Poll Cattle Society, which is definitely going to grow into delicious beef. And I’m guessing the Queen has plenty of cattle over her many lands, so probably knows some good cows when she sees them. It’s also a great book for learning how to make the most of every type of cut of beef.


The Royal Marsden Cancer Cookbook


The Royal Marsden Cancer Cookbook


Not the sort of cookbook I hope you ever have to buy, but the statistics say many of us will be directly or indirectly affected by cancer over our lifetime. The Queen is patron of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, still seen as one of the leading cancer treatment centres in the UK, so expect this to come with great research and knowledge behind it, of what is needed at this most difficult of times.


RHS Red Hot Chilli Grower


RHS Red Hot Chllli Grower


As a patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, we are used to seeing the Queen at various flower shows, but of course the RHS is much more involved in all things horticultural than just shows. I like this book, it seems a very contemporary title given the growth in interest in chillies in recent years, not to mention the greater variety of seeds available.


Brinestain and Biscuit: Recipe and Rules for Royal Navy Cooks


Brinestain and Biscuit


The royal family’s links to the Royal Navy are very strong, and they’ve probably had many meals from Royal Navy cooks. This is a compendium of excerpts from the Royal Navy’s Manual of Cooking, circa 1930. Probably not one for Tuesday night after work recipes, but fascinating for the history and an insight into what went on on board, from the officers mess downwards.

There are more celebrations to come, and whatever your thoughts on the monarchy, my feelings are that the Queen is one of the hardest working 90 year olds around. And looking pretty darn good on it. I hope she got a decent lunch yesterday, I’m sure she did, and wish her a very Happy Birthday.


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Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

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