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Friday 18 February 2011

Book Review: Chicken and Egg

I have always quite fancied the idea of having my own small holding and living a self-sufficient life. I blame The Good Life. In reality I live in the big bad city, with no real garden to speak of and about as much chance of climbing the waiting list for allotments as I do scaling K2. So I console myself with growing my own herbs and dreams of vegetable patches and chicken ownership.

My 'good life' fantasies have gone into overdrive since receiving a copy of Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 recipes from the lovely folks at Chronicle Books. The book follows the journey of Janice Cole and her three chicks Crazy Lulu, Cleo and Roxanne, and we get to hop along for the ride experiencing the pleasures and pitfalls of raising chickens in your backyard.

The book is full of sage advice and fun facts, I now know how to predict the colour of a chicken's eggs by looking at their ears and their apparent head bobbing is merely an optical illusion. Just remember that the book is American so some of the regulatory information about keeping chickens may not be applicable in the UK.

As suggested by it's full title, Chicken and Egg is also a cook book, and a rather impressive one at that. Cole is clearly passionate about both her chickens and her food, which is certainly reflected in the mouthwatering selection of recipes, both sweet and savoury. I can honestly say there is not a single recipe amongst the 125 in the book that I do not want to try. Should I go for Chicken Pot Pie followed by Black-Bottom Raspberry Meringues, Double Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup or Baked Eggs with Basil-Mint Pesto? My head is in a spin knowing where to start.

As I have come to expect from all Chronicle publications the book has a wonderful aesthetic and it was no surprise to discover that Cole is herself a food editor and stylist as the photos of the food are particularly stunning. I have never craved crispy roast chicken so much in my life!

Whether or not you have ever pondered owning chickens this book is definitely a must read. I defy anyone not to fall a little bit in love with Lulu, Cleo and Roxanne. I know I have. Which begs the question, who wants to buy me an Eglu Cube, *the* housing of choice for all urban chicken, to get me started?

Chicken and Egg, A memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes by Janice Cole is published by Chronicle Books. The book is out on 1st March 2011, RRP £16.99


  1. I love not only the content of your articles, but all the extra info - I had no idea the Eglu chicken house existed! One day, one day...
    Thanks and have a great weekend!
    Roxy x

  2. Steph, can help with cooking conversions!

  3., not onlineconversions, doh

  4. Thank you so much for your kind words Roxy

    Steph why not start by giving some of the recipes on here a try, particularly the sluttishly easy ones!


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