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Heston Blumenthal’s historic tribute to British cuisine wins 2014 James Beard cookbook of the year

The biggest prize in the cookbook genre was announced yesterday and a book describing the long and complex legacy of British cuisine has picked up the main award. The James Beard Foundation Book Awards named Historic Heston by English chef Heston Blumenthal as cookbook of the year.

Blumenthal, owner of The Fat Duck, details the identity of British cooking from medieval times to the recipes of the late-Victorian era with 28 historic dishes, including such delights as meat fruit (from 1500), quaking pudding (from 1660) and mock turtle soup (from 1892).

Heston examines the history behind each recipe and, of course, the science that makes them tasty. Dave McKean supplied illustrations and there is also some top-notch food photography.

The James Beard Foundation Awards judge books published in English in 2013. There are many categories aside from the top cookery book of the year, but below are the highlights.

American Cooking – The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes by Amy Thielen

Baking and Dessert – The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer with Martha Rose Shulman

Beverage – The Cocktail Lab: Unraveling the Mysteries of Flavor and Aroma in Drink, with Recipes by Tony Conigliaro

Focus on Health – Gluten-Free Girl Every Day by Shauna James Ahern with Daniel Ahern

General Cooking – Smoke: New Firewood Cooking by Tim Byres

International – Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop

Photography – René Redzepi: A Work in Progress by Ali Kurshat Altinsoy et al and the Noma Team

Single Subject – Culinary Birds: The Ultimate Poultry Cookbook by John Ash with James O. Fraioli

Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian – Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

Writing and Literature – Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

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