The Game Cook Book

This is not a book about games, nor does it imply that the cook is game for a laugh. The subtitle gives us more information; these are recipes inspired by a conversation in a butcher’s shop, about the cheapness and flavour of game, and the fact that most people don’t know how to cook it.

The surprise author of the Game Cook Book is one Rt. Hon. Norman Tebbit, a keen amateur cook. Now, while not signing up to Mr Tebbit’s political views, I think on the whole he is not a man who would misinform his readers. The book was a present from our neighbours and friend, perhaps to help us explore the cookery of the various creatures that can be shot and eaten locally.

This is an extreme version of being a locavore. The helpful introductory paragraph adds more detail. Mr Tebbit was always interested in cooking. When his wife was injured and crippled in an IRA bomb attack, he became the main cook. He lists many of my favourite recipe books as his inspirations.

In recent years, Britain’s attitude to food has changed. In a world that is becoming more eco-aware, ‘organic’ and ‘corn fed’ meat is gaining popularity at the expense of immoral, processed food. And yet strangely, ‘game’ – strictly speaking any bird or animal living wild, which is hunted for food – remains on the fringes on many people’s diet. Many people would rather pay twice the price at a supermarket for a comparatively tasteless chicken.

Tebbit, a keen amateur chef, uses The Game Cookbook to showcase his favourite game recipes featuring pheasant, partridge, duck, grouse, woodpigeon, woodcock, deer, rabbit, hare and more. Whether the recipe is a relatively simple casserole or a more challenging creation such as pheasant with apples and cream or rabbit with white wine and mushroom, Tebbit’s easy to follow style produces consistent results. The book also includes a concise guide to game, advice on kitchen equipment, handy conversion charts and individual hints on the various game included.

We have now tried a couple of recipes from the book, including a fine recipe for pigeon with cabbage and wine. I think it would also work well with goose, so we have to test that as well before I log it on this website. Having this book, I feel prepared for whatever should be brought home late at night by amateur hunters. I have to add that this is mostly rabbits and geese, and while to book has many recipes for rabbit, the goose has been ignored. I am going to try some of the other pigeon recipes with goose before I report back.

Final Score: Highly commended.