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Books

The Life And Times Of Dorothy Peel OBE

The Life And Times Of Dorothy Peel OBE

Pen and Sword - Early 2016

Dorothy Peel was the Nigella Lawson or Delia Smith of her day during the late Victorian to post-war period. In this book, Vicky Straker explores the social history and cultural background behind Dorothy’s creations, and the effect of rationing during the First World War. Dorothy played a key role in creating wartime recipes for householders and was awarded an OBE in 1918 for services to the Ministry of Food. Using extracts from her autobiography, and many other books, we are given a unique insight into the life of Dorothy Peel and a new perspective on the period. Her witty, poignant and informative comments reveal a woman with a genuine social conscience, who was in many ways ahead of her time.

This book covers aspects of the era revealing how society changed during the First World War, when rationing put a strain on every kitchen in the country. Many of Dorothy’s recipes are featured in their original form, such as the long forgotten Devilled Bananas, and wartime Potato Gateau. Other mouth-watering recipes include Chicken en Casserole, Cheese Pufflets, and some delicious tea-time treats such as Feather Tart and Candied Pears. Vicky Straker has tried and tested recipes from Dorothy’s cookery books, and where appropriate amended them to suit modern tastes.

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Afternoon Tea - A History and Guide to the Great Edwardian Tradition

Amberley Publishing - November 2015

The Edwardian era was the golden age of etiquette and gentility, and the taking of tea was rather like a ceremonial masquerade. At this time, it was not uncommon for ladies to change up to five times a day, and one of their outfits would have been a tea dress. Tea was the only time the mistress of the house would serve her guests; the china used, the manservant who answered the door and the delicacies presented were of paramount importance. In this beautifully illustrated book, Vicky Straker invites us to tea in the Edwardian era and serves it up with over thirty of her own delicious contemporary recipes. Also included are chapters on dress, etiquette and the servants who prepared the tea. The First World War, the Temperance Association and changes in domestic service each had their effect on the rise in fashion of afternoon tea, as well as its eventual demise. This book explores why tea was so important for the Edwardians in a world of flourishing aspirations and how it became so popular across all social classes. After all, who among us has not found comfort in a good cup of tea and its scrumptious accompaniments?

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Afternoon Tea - A History and Guide to the Great Edwardian Tradition

  • I am sure the dishes which Vicky makes at her demonstrations are as delicious than all the I had around her table on several occasions.

    Anna del Conte
  • Thank you for arranging the cooking class today.  It was so much fun and such a treat to be able to surprise the family with beautiful homemade bread.  They were all very impressed. ….. You were an excellent teacher …. on whole day eating  and having fun.  I could get used to this.

    Anne Jacobs
  • I have recently been on her ‘Fish’ demo and it was enormous fun – not too serious, lots of banter, great hints and tips, delicious things to eat which were not difficult to cook (including the best cake I’ve ever had for coffee break!) and a good mix of demo versus having a go yourself.  Oh yes, and it is only from 10 – 1pm so doesn’t take up the whole day. You certainly don’t have to be a confident cook to go but even if you are a bit of a whizz in the kitchen it is still worth a trip as aside from the fact that it is great fun, there is always something to learn.

    Gabrielle Grazebrooke

Recipes


About Me

Realising that her calling was culinary, Vicky gave up teaching to take the final two terms of a Diploma in Food and Wine at Leiths. Making handmade chocolates and catering was all too soon interrupted by marriage and children with whom she lives a rural life, alongside a plethora of dogs, chickens and hamsters. This blog was originally started to keep track of recipes in a slightly chaotic household and for friends who asked .... Discovering her great great grandmother, Dorothy Peel OBE, via a dusty book in her attic in 2012, has lead to Vicky sourcing the several books published by Dorothy between 1903 an 1933. The books were written under her married name, Mrs C.S. Peel, during her career as a journalist. They involve cookery, domestic, fictional and historical novels. She also worked in helping the Nation with WW1 Rationing within the Ministry of Food in 1917, for which she received an OBE. Vicky has read and absorbed each of these books whilst working her way through the hundreds of recipes. The best and most interesting of these are shared on this blog and will be published alongside chapters on the great changes seen by Dorothy during her lifetime in Bicycles, Bloomers and Rationing Recipes, the Life and Times of Dorothy Peel OBE, to be published by Pen and Sword in 2015.

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