Culinary hipsters could do far worse than to pore through Good Things, borrow Jane Grigson's ideas and present them as something innovative and relevant.
Seasonality and eating locally? She wrote about that way back in 1971, when the book was first published: "I feel that delight lies in the seasons and what they bring us. One does not remember the grilled hamburgers and frozen peas, but the strawberries that come in May and June straight from the fields, the asparagus of a special occasion, kippers from Craster in July and August, the first lamb of the year from Wales …"
Foraging? She writes about hunting for snails in one chapter, and edible mushrooms in another: "One of the best Sunday afternoon pleasures is to search the woods of your neighbourhood for edible mushrooms, to bring them home, and over a cup of tea to sort out the different kinds carefully before enjoying a mushroom supper."
She also writes about eating innards and game, and curing meats - subjects currently fashionable in the fickle foodie universe.
As with the best food writers, Grigson's cookery books make you hungry, whether she's describing luxury ingredients such as lobster and scallops, or humble ones like parsnips and leeks. When she describes the "sweet succulence perfectly combined with salty freshness" of mussels, it makes one feel lucky that the shellfish is readily available here, even if ours aren't from Normandy (but whatever you do, avoid the huge green-lip ones; the small blue-black mussels are the best).
In her introduction, Grigson writes, "This is not a manual of cookery, but a book about enjoying food. Few of the recipes in it will contribute much to the repertoire of those who like to produce dinner for six in 30 minutes flat. I think food, its quality, its origins, its preparation, is something to be studied and thought about in the same way as any other aspect of human existence. Anyone who likes to eat, can soon learn to cook well."
More proof of her foresight: "The encouragement of fine food is not greed or gourmandise; it can be seen as an aspect of the anti-pollution movement in that it indicates concern for the quality of the environment. This is not the limited concern of a few cranks. Small and medium-sized firms, feeling unable to compete with the cheap products of the giants, turn to producing better food. A courageous pig-breeder in Suffolk starts a cooked pork shop in the high charcuterie style. People in many parts of the country run restaurants specialising in local produced seafood …"
Grigson wrote the introduction in 1970 - and these ideas are fashionable, once again, today.
Her recipes range from classic English and French dishes, to some that must have been astonishingly innovative (read: weird) to her audience in Britain (chirashi sushi with sweet beans, in particular, stands out). She gives recipes for homard a l'Americaine; kippers or bloaters with potato salad; curried scallops; raised pork pie; sweetbreads in the Italian style; champignons a la crème; pea and ham soup; prunes stewed in Vouvray; and angel's hair charlotte (an odd-sounding sweet dish that includes carrot jam, pasta and boudoir biscuits).