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In Defence of English Cooking

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Not only was George Orwell one of the greatest writers and most important political thinkers of the twentieth century, he is also the author of the bestselling Penguin title of all time: Animal Farm first published in Penguin in 1951. These heartfelt essays demonstrate Orwell's wide-ranging appeal, and range from political manifesto to affectionate consideration of what be Not only was George Orwell one of the greatest writers and most important political thinkers of the twentieth century, he is also the author of the bestselling Penguin title of all time: Animal Farm first published in Penguin in 1951. These heartfelt essays demonstrate Orwell's wide-ranging appeal, and range from political manifesto to affectionate consideration of what being English truly means.


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Not only was George Orwell one of the greatest writers and most important political thinkers of the twentieth century, he is also the author of the bestselling Penguin title of all time: Animal Farm first published in Penguin in 1951. These heartfelt essays demonstrate Orwell's wide-ranging appeal, and range from political manifesto to affectionate consideration of what be Not only was George Orwell one of the greatest writers and most important political thinkers of the twentieth century, he is also the author of the bestselling Penguin title of all time: Animal Farm first published in Penguin in 1951. These heartfelt essays demonstrate Orwell's wide-ranging appeal, and range from political manifesto to affectionate consideration of what being English truly means.

30 review for In Defence of English Cooking

  1. 5 out of 5

    Judyta Szaciłło

    This is a small collection of Orwell's essays, of which the last, the shortest, and the least significant gave title to the whole pamphlet. Deceiving, you might say, but I think it's a justified deception. Many people will be tempted to see what that old fellow Orwell had to say about cooking, but not as many would be willing to engage with his essays about nationalism, because cooking interests practically everyone and politics is often found boring. But Orwell's essays about nationalism are re This is a small collection of Orwell's essays, of which the last, the shortest, and the least significant gave title to the whole pamphlet. Deceiving, you might say, but I think it's a justified deception. Many people will be tempted to see what that old fellow Orwell had to say about cooking, but not as many would be willing to engage with his essays about nationalism, because cooking interests practically everyone and politics is often found boring. But Orwell's essays about nationalism are really worth reading, for he doesn't do traditional political commenting. His inquisitive and ever-questioning mind looked at nationalism as a mode of thinking that everyone, at some point or other, is affected by. He encourages his reader to look into oneself and dig out all the sins of tribal thinking that virtually every one of us is guilty of. The light-hearted title may then trick unaware people to do some serious thinking, and there's hardly a better purpose for deception than that.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    Well I feel a little bit dumb. This was a collection of essay. Firstly talking about nationalism, and getting into the topics of totalitarianism and fascism (which I struggled to get through as it was the longest, and I had trouble understanding what on earth he was talking about). The next one spoke about liberty, particularly as it pertains to literature and freedom of speech, and the freedom to argue on political issues (which I understood more of what he was talking about). And then the last Well I feel a little bit dumb. This was a collection of essay. Firstly talking about nationalism, and getting into the topics of totalitarianism and fascism (which I struggled to get through as it was the longest, and I had trouble understanding what on earth he was talking about). The next one spoke about liberty, particularly as it pertains to literature and freedom of speech, and the freedom to argue on political issues (which I understood more of what he was talking about). And then the last one was his defence of English cooking, in which Orwell says that most people think good English cooking is just an imitation of French cooking and he does nothing to actually rebut this claim except to list dishes that the English have created. Listing food does not mean those foods are good or better than French cooking, it merely means that the English have created something. Obviously this last essay is very based on personal opinion, but I would have liked to see at least some real attempt to dissect the topic (maybe because it was the only one I fully comprehended).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rai FG

    A small collection of essays that are as relevant now as the 1940s. With a very clever style of writing and some gems of insults. Thought-provoking and yet somehow saddening that we still find ourselves in the same battles as Orwell did.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tse Guang

    When you find yourself nodding in agreement at Orwell's defence of English cooking, you know you've been completely seduced. I would like to read his defence of English *weather* if such a text exists. In any case, the essays before this last one are no less works of art: the persona Orwell constructs in his political writings always seems to speak with the voice of absolute common sense and right-thinking, despite him being a card-carrying communist. Orwell's acute sense of the potential perver When you find yourself nodding in agreement at Orwell's defence of English cooking, you know you've been completely seduced. I would like to read his defence of English *weather* if such a text exists. In any case, the essays before this last one are no less works of art: the persona Orwell constructs in his political writings always seems to speak with the voice of absolute common sense and right-thinking, despite him being a card-carrying communist. Orwell's acute sense of the potential perversions of the left allow his analyses of English culture at the time to transcend polemics and emotionalism. The more I read him the more I admire his thoughts and the spirit which animates them.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    English breakfast, ugh. What defense could there be?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Book Worm

    Finally, I have found some one of importance who defended English cooking! One of my favourite dinners is a good Sunday dinner; yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and veg, brussel sprouts... Not to mention all of the fantastic puddings; picking blackberries as a kid to bake in an apple and blackberry pie.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Yihui Quek

    My only gripe is that the title is totally irrelevant to the bulk of the book. In the first few essays (which are about nationalism and the war), Orwell feels like a demanding personal trainer who puts us through the usual mental exercises.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    As relevant today as the day it was written.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nofar Spalter

    Orwell is a better writer than what is exemplified in this collection of WWII era essays.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    I enjoy George Orwell's writing. His shorter works are every bit as relevant today as they were when he wrote them half a century ago. "My Country Right or Left" could be applied to the youth of today, who have not seen a break in conflict since the beginning of WWII. And his "Defence of English Cooking" is surprising accurate and agreeable. This was a pleasant collection of short stories with a intelligent political bent that has not dated.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A nice sampling of some of Orwell's essays. This was an impulse buy after I found it at a used bookstore, and I was surprised by how interesting I found the essays. It may be important to note, though, that this is not really about English cooking, except for the final essay, which is only three pages long.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

    Three short essays, a little disjointed as a collection, but plenty still resonates today; a testament to his genius.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael T

    Manditory reading

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diego

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aelred

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maren

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dsqueenie

  22. 4 out of 5

    André

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ahmed

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joe Carty

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brian Wilson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brett

  28. 4 out of 5

    Isaiah

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tara

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