The Honey Cookbook
by Juliette Elkon
Juliette Elkon’s The Honey Cookbook was the first of its kind when it was originally published in 1955. Containing over 250 recipes, it showcases the many uses of honey, referencing both its sweet properties as well as its versatility. In the preface, Elkon explains her motivations behind revering honey as the main theme of her book, intertwining historical and biographical reasons for the book’s topic. Elkon recollects the shortage of honey throughout the Western world beginning in the seventeenth century until the mid-twentieth century, which acts as justification for the abundance of ancient and primarily non-Western recipes. Examples include parchment wrapped chicken, wherein the preparation of the chicken uses honey for a sweet note and a binding agent in the marinade.
Elkon also comments on the natural sweetness of honey, providing a reason as to why she focuses on baking and desserts.
For the contemporary reader, it sheds light on a particular moment, when the West of the interwar period was re-discovering the many uses of honey. As Elkon writes, “In due time, and with the usual competitive spirit, it became every housewife’s ambition to try the new sweet.” The mid-century fascination with a new ingredient sparked Elkon’s inspiration to research old recipes and bring them back to life, much like Mixie’s does now.