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Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Lost Art of Creating Delicious Home Produce, with Over 600 Recipes

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  780 ratings  ·  47 reviews
In this timely new book, Darina reconnects you with the cooking skills that missed a generation or two. The book is divided into chapters such as Dairy, Poultry and Eggs, Bread, and Preserving, and forgotten processes such as smoking mackerel, curing bacon, and making yogurt and butter are explained in the simplest terms. The delicious recipes show you how to use your home ...more
Hardcover, 600 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Kyle Books (first published November 12th 2009)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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This is an amazingly extensive book of traditional foodways, recipes and practical advice, including gathering, preserving and cooking with wild herbs, flowers, fruits, mushrooms, preparing and cooking fish, shellfish, seaweed, game animals, and wildfowl, as well as farm-raised meats, such as beef, pork and lamb - including sausage-making techniques. In addition to recipes, the author gives a wealth of practical advice on raising and butchering chickens. She covers all manner of preservation tec ...more
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Darina is a hero of mine in the food world. The cover of the book calls her "The Julia Child of Ireland" (on the American version), but I would say that she is much closer to Alice Waters than Child. This book is tremendously expansive, and details nearly any skill you could desire to attain in cooking, from smoking meats to making butter, and nearly everything in between. Darina is all about simplicity, getting to the essence of the flavors in the food.

If you read the title carefully, you'll s
April Sotomayor
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good friend gave me this book for my birthday this year. Knowing the kind of cook I am - interested in food, all the steps taken to getting it, and its unique preparation were reasons she chose it for me. It was a spot-on, thoughtful gift.

The book is focused on food that comes from or is found in the UK and Ireland. I was raised in the US, but I live in England now and have a growing fascination with the wild foods and traditional dishes that are found and made here. British food has had a ba
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Darina's voice and her story definitely comes through in this book, it's littered with references of her mentors, peppered with anecdotes of her first henraising experience. Her passion is admirable, but I find the Irish tales a little difficult to relate to.

Still, a fun and insightful (and gorgeously laid out) book.
Rebecca Newman
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a GREAT book this is! I borrowed it from the library but this is one book that I MUST have for myself. It has BEAUTIFUL photography within and so many recipes encouraging the old ways of putting food on the table: foraging, hunting, growing and ALWAYS using every part you can.

So, so good.

Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I think Dick Duvall would enjoy this one! But he might start keeping a flock of hens after reading it!

OH, and if either of my 2 librarian friends has Librarian Status, the title is completely wrong -- which a simple click on the cover above reveals :)
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A more apropos title for this book might be forgotten foods cooking. If you have access to fields of weeds that are actually edible, this book may be for you. I don’t. And have no idea where I would even begin to locate cowslip, hawthorn or comfrey. Nor is it easy to locate a snipe or a woodcock. Some recipes do not require access to wild plants and animals like a lemon pound cake made with almond flour (though you are supposed to candy your violets. . . ). The meat recipes are head to tail incl ...more
Cortney Westhoff-O'Farrell
Apr 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Cover-to-cover, this book has got just about anything and everything one could think to prepare in Irish cuisine. I did have to seek out a proper Irish Tart as the one in this book is not quite what I'm accustomed to. Furthermore, there's a recipe missing in the book and when I contacted the editor, the reply wasn't even a 'thank you' or 'here's the recipe' it was more of an 'oh well'. So, I've docked the book 1 star. That said, there are some good recipes for foraged foods and I did mock up a d ...more
Nov 20, 2022 rated it really liked it
A most unusual book. The authoress does several novel things. She really focuses on the gathering and using of wild ingredients. Her first chapter is about foraging, which i can't say I have read much about but is a great skill. The book has chapters focusing on plants, fowl etc. Being a vegetarian the middle half of the book was of no use to me. But the rest was very worthwhile. Thee sections of fermenting, cheese making, vinegars, pickling etc were great. ...more
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I absolutely love reading cookbooks, but this one was hard for me. The recipes, while interesting, were not ones that I would venture to make. However, with that being said, I did find it fascinating how different cultures view delicacies.
Jan 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I’m like 10 pages in, and I can already tell this is a book I’ll refer to over and over again, and pass along to my child(ren). Really, if you’re into cooking, especially in a way that’s economical, delicious, less-waste, seasonal, local, etc., this is a book to invest in and cherish!
Alisa Kester
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
SUCH a fantastic read!
Geraldine Kelly
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is so much more than a cookbook- I wish I could take the course!
MJ Saison
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-and-forage
I marked this book as read, although I didn't read the whole thing. It's a cookbook more than anything, and I highly doubt very many of us actually read a cookbook in its entirety.

The thing is, you could make an exception for this one-- if it wasn't quite so massive. I forgive it's size, though. How else could it contain the breadth of knowledge that it does otherwise?

Even in this age where every blog and cookbook insists on offering a long boring personal story about every dish. How important t
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Scanned, honestly.

Melissa Clark had it on a list of a few of her favorite cookbooks, and I can see why.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: recommended, food
Hillary recommended this book to me when we were traveling together in Philadelphia. I skimmed through it and found it largely impractical for me. Many recipes aren't long but can be very complicated and require ingredients I don't have or that are quite unhealthy (lots of butter and cream). I can appreciate sections like "How to fillet a fresh fish" but even then there aren't pictures to go along with each step, which I would have benefitted from. Overall this book could be useful to me, but I ...more
Jul 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
There can't possibly be enough good to say about this cookbook/tutorial tome. It's fantastic. Fan. Tas. Tic. She has a whole chapter on Foraging (yes, foraging! wild food. growing randomly. in the wild) and how to use what you've found. Each chapter covers one basic unit: Foraging, Breads, Lamb, Beef, Pork, Fish, Chicken (and how to keep your own hens), etc etc etc.

Her advice and instructions are practical and down-to-earth: how to gut and fillet a fish, how to prepare a duck or pigeon for the
Kelly RAley
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeous, well-written cookbook. There are lots of photos and drawings included. I've tried just a few of the recipes, which were excellent, but the true joy comes from reading it. I love reading about what people eat in books. Well described high teas, savory stews or scones always delight me. This book is like a day in the Irish country-side where you feel the fire in the hearth and a glass of fresh cold milk at your side. A delicious offering. ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Some interesting recipes especially some old ones using cuts of meat that are not much used anymore. There are over 700 recipes but many are just slight variations on a base recipe. I thought the section on herbs and vegetables was quite good and the soda bread is something I will be trying soon. I was a little disappointed that the book doesn't go into much detail on any of the forgotten skills. This is not much of a how-to book. ...more
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book contains everything you might ever want or need to know about cooking, including how to make butter, keep chickens and other animals, and how to dress and butcher anything. Also a fascinating look into the life and business of Irish chef Darina Allen, who seems to make everything she eats. The shepherd's pie and lemon curd recipes are both amazing. I need to try more things from this book. ...more
Deborah Harkness
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Did you know that freshly laid eggs can be preserved for 2 months by rubbing butter into the warm shells? Neither did I. Darina Allen's book makes you rethink what it means to live in a modern food culture that privileges convenience and ease over forgotten skills like foraging and preserving. And the recipes are delicious, too. ...more
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It's amazing, inspiring, practical, artistic. It makes me want to make candied violets and harvest wild greens. You don't normally see the practical and poetic so married in a single volume, but art can be a part of everyday life, down to growing and preparing a vegetable. Good to remember that. ...more
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is full of beautiful photography and after reading through most of it (since it is a recipe book), I felt like I wanted to go to Ireland for 3 months for one of Darina Allen's cooking courses! Then this week Bobby Flay premiered a new show where he is exploring cuisine in Ireland and he had Darina as part of his show. It's a great book! ...more
Sara W.
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is so helpful! It is true that we usually forgotten cooking the basics since all of what we need is instant and ready-made. This book is an eye-opener to the reader since it includes here some recipes that are easy to cook and very safe to eat since it’s all homemade. We must realized that in this book we can save finances and can keep our health healthier. Thanks for this book!
Annette McIntyre
An excellent book on how things in the kitchen used to be done and why they should be done again. Lots of areas covered from foraging, to butchery, to preserving and lots more besides. Divided into sections on various topics the author goes into the history of each, then follows up with recipes - some old fashioned and some very modern.

I will be adding this book to my collection.
Apr 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
If you don't have an extensive cookbook collection, or books that already show you how to make cheese, butter, sausage, or English foods, this is a great reference book. If you have books like that, this will be a repetitive book to have on your shelf. ...more
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book, one with a great deal of information and background on gathering the ingredients as well as the actual cooking. Interesting read, and I'm sure I will try some of the recipes soon! ...more
Val Durfee
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
Oh my goodness...this is one of my three favorite cookbooks. My go-to for anything I need to make that is represented in its pages. Some of the cook times need adjustment for high altitude (duh), but I have yet to make anything from these recipes that we didn't love. ...more
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite cookbook. With a nice mix of old-fashioned and fresh new recipes I have been able to explore a culinary legacy that is not often celebrated. The techniques are explained clearly and the tone is friendly and instructive. Really, get this cookbook.
Apr 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 600s
handy mate to my Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook
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Darina Allen established Ballymaloe Cookery School in 1983 with her brother Rory O'Connell. Author of over 10 books and presenter on 6 Television series, her main passion and her daily task is to impart her knowledge to the students at the Ballymaloe Cookery School.

Darina Allen is Ireland’s best known cook and a best-selling author who presented nine series of her cookery programme, *Simply Delici

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