I've read somewhere that cookery books are some of the most frequently bought books and something in me would agree with that. We all need to eat and most of us like to eat, too. But not everyone is born with a wooden spoon in their hand, so they're looking for some help to turn out that perfect Sunday roast or big slapup meal for friends.
Others like to experiment and try new flavours and ways of preparing food. Yet others want to recreate dishes they've enjoyed as children or while on holiday.
And some people - and I'm one of them - simply find it relaxing and inspiring to read cookery books and look at the gorgeous photos, working up an appetite for lunch or dinner. Books about English food is for all of us.
My husband will tell you that I have far too many cookery books already. I do buy them to read as much as to cook from. So this time, instead of buying yet another one, I've put together a list of my favourites for all of us who need a little help or inspiration. Just to give you some ideas.
This is one of the tastiest looking cookbooks I've come across in a long time! The photography is simply mouthwatering and the food displayed is even more so.
If you ever wanted to cook like grandma, but never had the gumption or kitchen skills to try, go get this book. It's a useful introduction to English food. All the old favourites are there, with clear step by step instructions. All the wonderful photos will keep you hungry and on track while you're cooking.
If you ever wanted to know why cobnuts are traditional to Kent, where Gentleman's Relish and jellied eels originate, when and where to eat Stuffed Chine, or what a Bedfordshire Clanger is ... then check out this book. I've always liked apples, but I had no idea that traditional varieties vary by county. The book's also very good about cheeses - a particular favourite of mine - listing the history and production methods in great detail - and about all manner of vegetables.
"The Taste of Britain" is essential reading if you're planning a foody holiday through England. But it's also very good for nosing through while getting up an appetite for lunch. I bought this one as a treat for myself, but I'm sure it would also make a great gift for the food lover in your life. I certainly wouldn't have objected if I'd found it under the tree.
Nigel Slater is a food writer whose books I could eat - and that would be a lot better for my waistline!
Real Fast Food was the first of his books I bought. That was years ago and my copy is now a sad mess! If you can get hold of it, buy it. It's money well spent. The companion book, Real Fast Puddings is equally tasty. Apricot Amaretti Crumble anyone?
With the holiday season approaching, I find myself digging out Rose Elliot's classic once again.
Even if you fancy your turkey with all the trimmings come Christmas day, you should have this book in your collection. There are marvellous recipes for fat-free mincemeat, Christmas pudding, dips, sauces and salads that will all come in handy during the party season.
And you never know: there may be a few Vegetarians amongst your guests. Then you're winning already ...
We're all told to eat more fruit and veg, but many of us just don't know what to do with all the strange things on offer in the supermarket. And we do the same old, same old with the old favourites.
Meet Mr Paul Gayler. Here's a man who has vegetables licked. If you're up for experimenting with unusual tastes and combinations, try this book. You want an example? Let me tell you that I love chocolate, but absolutely HATE beetroot. I really cannot abide the things. Now get Paul Gayler's book and try the Chocolate Fudge Brownies. Then tell me what you think!
This isn't just one book! There's a whole series of them, themed collections of traditional English favourites. So whether you're wanting to remember how to make sloe gin, or Sussex pond pudding or beef and walnut casserole... these books about English food will fit the bill. They make excellent little gifts, too.