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Pussers' Cookbook by Paul White

I was looking forward to the arrival of the Pussers' Cookbook with bated breath as I enjoy reading cookery books almost as much as I enjoy a good novel.

There are many cookbooks out there made up of ‘handed down’ recipes and it’s about time that a pusser’s chef (cook) took the time to do the same for the matelots.

The premise is a good one. There are plenty of ex-matelots who would love to be able to recreate the ‘scran’ of old and I guess that if this is your dream, then this is the book for you. (My father always made me make Corned Beef Hash and Cheesy Hammy Eggies for him when I went home on leave. Even putting some in the freezer for later.) It contains some of the best-loved food from yester year and some are still being made on pusser’s warships to this day.

However, it is all a bit confused. It started when ‘scran’ was spelled scan. After that it’s hard to read without noticing the spelling and grammatical mistakes. Apostrophes in the wrong place etc. Possibly my OCD coming out, but still…

I know it is accurate in its context, but the use of the word ‘n*ggers’ isn’t really needed.

Some of the naval terminology is explained in the glossary, but some is not. Not sure if anyone not connected to the Mob would know what a ‘fanny’ is for example.

Then there’s the layout of the recipes themselves. Some have the ingredients first and then the method and some do not. Some don’t have the ingredients at all, they’re just listed in the method. For the layman, it would make it difficult to follow.

The book ends with some not particularly interesting ‘dits’ about sailors eating food ashore.

A good effort, but it needs someone to go over it with a much more critical eye and attention to detail for this book to really please me.

2 1/2 Anchors.

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