Murdoch Books
February 2023
Hardcover, Rrp $55.00
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

I called Regula Ysewijn’s previous book, Pride & Pudding – subtitled “the history of British puddings both savoury and sweet” – indispensable, and found that its “lush and evocative descriptions of the way British puddings have evolved over the centuries, and where British chefs found their own inspirations… [are] definitive and illuminating, [and] the history behind the puddings is fascinating, making the journey through this book an adventure in itself.”

With Dark Rye & Honey Cake, Ysewijn turns her meticulous sights upon festival baking traditions from her home country Belgium, with equally important and gratifying results.

She is an incredible researcher, and shares her discoveries with the knowledge of a scholar, the fascination of an archaeologist, the heart of an author, the skill of a chef, and the eye of an artist. Paintings from centuries gone by sit next to essays about different feasts and the culinary traditions that used to celebrate them, the differences between certain kinds of pretzels or waffles or the like, and much more. Recipes that haven’t been widely seen in hundreds of years are recreated, the results photographed with the eye of a master painter rather than a food stylist (by Ysewijn herself), and the author also features in some beautifully stylish photographs throughout.

Alongside some of the more archaic recipes such as rock hard Couque de Dinant, there are moresome Oliebollen (doughnuts), Apple Beignets, a slew of Waffles both sweet and savoury, Piot (raisin buns), breads of every hue, and a myriad of pies and cakes and tarts.

A work of art, a cookbook, and a historical record all wrapped up into one, it is no surprise that the likes of Nigella Lawson have declared “I have utterly fallen in love with this beautiful book.”

Originally published on 100% ROCK MAGAZINE


Shane Pinnegar
Shane Pinnegar is an author, chef and music/pop culture writer who lives in Western Australia. He has a lovely wife, two rambunctious dogs with no respect for personal space, especially on the sofa or bed, twenty-something koi, a flock of itinerate galahs who visit regularly, and a never-comprehensive-enough rock n' roll record collection.

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