The kitchen was very much the heart of the home in country houses the length and breadth of Britain. Although this hive of activity was kept behind closed doors and often hidden away in the bowels of vast mansions, these rooms ensured that the house and those who lived in it were provisioned. Country houses were formerly self-sufficient to an incredible degree, requiring a range of purpose-built accommodation for food storage and a hierarchy of servants with unique skills. From brewing and baking through to distilling, working in the dairy and even ice-storage, this book offers an intimate look at the ingenuity and creativity that kept these kitchens running smoothly. It also explores the evolution of the kitchen range, cooking techniques, vessels and gadgets and the kitchen staff who used them, as well as the relationship between kitchen, servery and dining room. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in food, history and country houses, revealing how, above and below stairs, good food was always on the table.
PAMELA A. SAMBROOK was a museum curator and is now a freelance writer, lecturer and domestic historian, currently working as associate lecturer at Keele University, Open University tutor and consultant to the National Trust. PETER BREARS was formerly Director of Leeds City Museums Service. He is a well-known writer and lecturer on food history and consultant to the National Trust.