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The Bloomsbury Cookbook

Recipes for Life, Love and Art

Jans Ondaatje Rolls

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An intimate and mouth-watering journey into the lives and cuisine of the Bloomsbury Group, featuring numerous unpublished recipes, beguiling quotations and original artworks

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Throwing aside the stifling mores of late Victorian Britain, the Bloomsbury Group fostered a fresh, creative and vital way of living that encouraged debate and communication (‘only connect’), as often as not across the dining table. Gathered at these tables were many of the most important figures in art, literature, politics and economics of the modern era: E. M. Forster, Roger Fry, John Maynard Keynes, Lytton Strachey, Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, among many others.

In The Bloomsbury Cookbook Jans Ondaatje Rolls invites us to dine with these enduringly fascinating individuals, taking us into the very centre of their world through the meals around which they argued, debated, laughed and loved.

Part cookbook, part social and cultural history, the book tells the story of the Bloomsbury Group with nearly 300 recipes, many from previously unpublished material by members such as Frances Partridge, Helen Anrep and David and Angelica Garnett, accompanied by paintings, photographs, quotations, letters and personal reminiscences.

Together they paint an intimate and astonishingly detailed portrait of the group, conjuring up the scents, colours and textures of breakfasts at Monk’s House, lunches at Charleston, tea in Tidmarsh, evening parties in Gordon Square and dinners in the south of France.

Beautifully illustrated, including original artwork by Cressida Bell, this is both a source of inspiration for the modern chef and a unique celebration of life, love and art at the heart of Bloomsbury.

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'I need this book!'
Nigella Lawson

'A meticulous and lavishly illustrated account of the food of the Bloomsbury set … summons up a lost world of meals on trays, milk puddings, gin slings and kedgeree'
Sunday Times

'Luxuriously produced … packed with entertaining stories of Bloomsbury eccentricities'

'An enticing blend of cultural and gastronomic history'
Times Literary Supplement

'Glorious … a feast of eccentric detail'
New Statesman

'Witty and erudite'
The Spectator

'Exceptionally beautiful … the most endearing and enjoyable book yet about the Bloomsbury Group'
Country Life

'Gets to the heart of the group by looking at what they put in their stomachs … in page after delicious page, 50 years of soup, salmon and friendship unfurl'
Daily Telegraph

'A window onto Bloomsbury via recipes, grocery lists, pantries, kitchens and, above all, dining tables'
Virginia Nicholson

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 23.5 x 16.9 cm

Extent: 384 pp

Illustrations: 165

Publication date: 17 March 2014

ISBN: 9780500517307

Contents List

Foreword by Anne Chisholm; ‘The Charleston Trust’ by Virginia Nicholson; Introduction; 1. Before Bloomsbury (1890s–1904); 2. Old Bloomsbury (1904–14); 3. Bloomsbury in Wartime (1914–19); 4. An Appetite for Bloomsbury (1920s); 5. Bloomsbury and Abroad (1920s–1930s); 6. Bloomsbury in Eclipse (1930–41); 7. Bloomsbury’s Offspring (1940s– ).

About the Author

Jans Ondaatje Rolls was born in Toronto, educated in Canada and the United States, and emigrated to England in 1988. She is involved in fundraising for numerous charities and is an active supporter of Pallant House Gallery, Winston’s Wish and the Charleston Trust. In 1982 she published the cookbook Chester Chowder, the proceeds of which support a home for children with special needs in Nova Scotia, and in 2009 she published Bosham Bisque, a cookbook for the benefit of Winston’s Wish. She lives in Sussex with her husband and four children.

Anne Chisholm is a biographer and critic. Among her many books are biographies of Nancy Cunard, Lord Beaverbrook and Rumer Godden.

List of Contributors

Anne Chisholm