Agnes Jekyll (1860-1937) was the supreme hostess: her house was described as "the apogee of opulent comfort and order without grandeur, smelling of pot-pouri, furniture polish and wood smoke". Lady Jekyll, as she became, first published Kitchen Essays in The Times, "in which she was persuaded to pass on some of the wit and wisdom of her rare gift for clever and imaginative housekeeping".  Helen Garlick reads a few of her favourite extracts...

Agnes Jekyll's gift for friendship and organisational skills made her an excellent hostess. Helen Garlick reads three more extracts from Kitchen Essays, published in The Times in 1922, in which Lady Jekyll passes on 'some of the wit and wisdom of her clever and imaginative housekeeping'.

For the first helping of lockdown food musings, here are two poems, one about the iceberg lettuce and the other about the humble onion.

War time diaries and recipe books are good reading too, not because we have to cope with shortages but it’s good for us to remember how much more difficult shopping and cooking was in both World Wars. Also, it's inspiring, now that we need to think twice about making trips to shops, to see how people concocted meals of what they had to hand. Here are extracts from Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940 – 1945. Published by Persephone Books…


Post viral recovery can be a long haul. We seem to have lost the concept of convalescence, of the need to understand that full recovery from illness can take a period of time, that needs to be accepted and catered for in every sense. Helen Garlick searches her cookery book library for dishes to tempt and nourish invalids and convalescents…

As the risks of a new lockdown rise, Helen sends us this new contribution to her series.

The Ultimate Lockdown

If you ever feel at risk of sinking into depression over your social life during these socially isolated and distanced times, or look at your store cupboard and wonder whether you can hold out until the next Ocado delivery, or indeed try to to get a slot and fail, A Woman in the Polar Night by Christianne Ritter is the book you need to have by your side.

There are a number of recipes which have come from interviews, which contributors have included, or which we have put up during events like the Euro2020 Competition. They are all gathered together here.

Where else to start but with the incomparable Dame Barbara Cartland’s cookery book, The Romance of Food published in 1984. The authoress (she would have insisted on the feminine noun) of over 350 romantic novels, with titles such as Gypsy Magic, Bride to a Brigand and The Island of Love, was also a proponent of health food, especially honey.