Mrs Crocombe is the star of English Heritage’s wildly popular YouTube series, The Victorian Way. Millions of fans around the globe devour her historical cookery videos, which in delightful contrast to the high-octane hijinks of many YouTube channels offers viewers a gentle glimpse into a simpler time an age when tea was sipped from porcelain, not from plastic cups; when mince pies were meaty and nothing was wasted; when puddings were in their pomp and no kitchen was complete without a cupboard full of copper pots and pans.
Avis Crocombe really did exist she was head cook at Audley End House in Essex from about 1878 to 1884. Although only a little is known about her life, her handwritten cookery book was passed down through her family for generations and rediscovered by a distant relative in 2009. It’s a remarkable read, and from the familiar (ginger beer, custard and Christmas cake) to the fantastical (roast swan, preserved lettuce and fried tongue sandwiches), her recipes give us a wonderful window into a world of flavour from 140 years ago.
How to Cook the Victorian Way is the definitive guide to the life, times and tastes of the world’s favourite Victorian cook. The beautifully photographed book features fully tested and modernised recipes along with a transcription of Avis’s original manuscript, plus insights into daily life at Audley End by Dr Annie Gray and Dr Andrew Hann, and a foreword by the face of Mrs Crocombe, Kathy Hipperson. It showcases the best recipes from Mrs Crocombe’s own book, alongside others of the time, brought together so that every reader can put on their own Victorian meal. It’s a moreish smorgasbord of social history an absolute must for fans, foodies and anyone with an appetite for the past.