Kitchen Essays

by Agnes Jekyll

Part of the Persephone Classics Series

The Real World

LoveReading View on Kitchen Essays


December 2009 Good Housekeeping selection.


Deliciously entertaining and founded on solid hosting skills (Jekyll, who was sister-in-law to the gardening grand dame Gertrude, invited Browning and Ruskin to her first dinner party), Kitchen Essays makes a perfect present for those who thrill at the thought of clever food writing. Jekyll’s essays which were published in the 1920s with titles ranging from Tray Food to Sunday Supper, are both passionate and intelligent. Take a look at Persephone’s website or visit their enchanting little shops in London for other gift inspiration: all books celebrate wonderful, mainly female, neglected 20th century writers and are presented in the classic Persephone silver jacket and prettily designed end papers (

Kitchen Essays Synopsis

The author of Kitchen Essays (1922) was sister-in-law to the great Gertrude Jekyll, whose biographer wrote that if she 'was an artist-gardener, then Agnes was an artist-housekeeper.' Agnes was a famous hostess (the guests at her first dinner party included Browning, Ruskin and Burne-Jones) and her home, Munstead House, 'was the apogee of opulent comfort and order without grandeur, smelling of pot-pourri furniture polish and wood smoke'.


During 1921-2 Lady Jekyll wrote unsigned essays for The Times with titles such as Tray Food and Sunday Supper. The Observer Food Magazine commended - 'lovely Persephone Books' for reprinting Kitchen Essays , India Knight in The Shops called it 'beautifully written, sparkling, witty and knowing, an absolute delight to read', while the BBC Food Magazine praised 'this exquisitely reprinted period piece'.

Kitchen Essays Press Reviews

Three cheers to Persephone Books for publishing this witty, sharp writer, nostalgic but unsentimental, humorous but precise, erudite and always elegant. - Country Living .


Kitchen Essays is a rare thing, a cookbook that is as fun to read as its food is to eat. - Sunday Herald (Glasgow).

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781906462031
Publication date: 20/10/2008
Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781906462031
Publication date: 20th October 2008
Author: Agnes Jekyll
Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 264 pages
Genres: The Real World,
Categories: General cookery & recipes, Literary essays,

About Agnes Jekyll

Agnes Jekyll (1860-1937) was the daughter of William Graham, Liberal MP for Glasgow and patron of the Pre-Raphaelites; she had a literary and artistic childhood. After her marriage to Herbert Jekyll (soldier, public servant and wood-carver) she lived at Munstead House in Surrey, with her sister-in-law Gertrude Jekyll nearby at Munstead Wood. Agnes's gift for friendship and organisational skills made her an excellent hostess: Mary Lutyens described her house as 'the apogee of opulent comfort and order without grandeur, smelling of pot-pouri, furniture polish and wood smoke'; while Gertrude Jekyll's biographer remarked that if she 'was an artist-gardener, then Agnes ...

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