The English Kitchen is a series published by Prospect Books to explore and explain the course of English cookery over the last 300 years. Some of the series delves into historic cookery books to find the origins of particular dishes, other titles concentrate on modern favourites and the ways in which they have been interpreted today and in the recent past.
Trifle is the first in the series and comes from the pens of Helen Saberi, author of Afghan Food and Cookery and Alan Davidson, author of The Oxford Companion to Food and other classics of the kitchen, particularly relating to fish. Trifles have been a perennial of English summer lunches, tennis parties, and schoolboy dreams. The authors trace their origins to the earliest recipe for trifle of 1596 and its gradual transformation from a mere cooked cream to the many layered custardy extravagance that we know today. The stages on its journey, described with the lightest of touch, are illustrated by recipes extracted from classic English cookery books. The authors thereafter range far and wide in search of the perfect trifle, from Zuppa Inglese to American aphrodisiac trifle to a fruit and tapioca trifle from Laos.