Much fun to be had in these pages, and some squirm-making moments too, in a mixture of the history of cooking (based on what is obviously a wide acquaintance with ancient cook books), reflections on food, and personal foody experiences. Alice Thomas Ellis denies any attempt at scholarship, so one can settle down for a jolly ramble through chapters entitled From Cradle to Gravy, The Servant Problem, In the Soup, Another Man’s Poison and so forth. She is concerned mainly with British food and cookery, but makes a few digressions to the US and Europe. She has an eye for the social implications of the food she describes, as well as a high sense of social comedy, and her own family members emerge, rather touchingly, at intervals through her narrative.
Oh yes, the mice: see page 31. Apparently the trick is to tie their tails to a wooden spoon laid across a pan filled with heavy sugar syrup. “They were delicious … the bones were crisp and edible …”.