- New titles
- Classic food writers
- Healthy / vegetarian / vegan
- International cookery
- Desserts / Indulgent recipes
Grub Street is an award-winning small, niche independent publisher, publishing only books on cookery and military aviation history. Voted International Publisher of the Year at the World Cookbook Awards in 2000, a number if our cookbooks have won prizes over the years.
Most recently, these have included the highly acclaimed Ice Creams, Sorbets and Gelati by Caroline and Robin Weir. This was voted cookbook of the year by the Guild of Food Writers in 2011. The Complete Robuchon, by the influential chef Joel Robuchon, was awarded with Best Translation at the Gourmand Awards in 2010.
Elisabeth Luard, author of European Peasant Cookery, was winner of the Glenfiddich Award for Best Cookery Writer and the highly coveted Glenfiddich Trophy in 2007. Cakes Regional & Traditional by Julie Duff was one of only three books short listed for the prestigious Glenfiddich Food Book of the Year 2004 and when we reissued the Constance Spry Cookery Book which had been out of print for more than ten years it was selected by Waitrose Food Illustrated as one of the greatest cookbooks of all time. The Guardian says of it 'If you can't find a recipe for something anywhere else, it will be in Constance Spry.'
Shirley Booth was presented with a cheque and a beautiful hand made certificate at the Japanese Festival Awards for her award-winning Food of Japan 2000. This is a particularly prestigious award given for furthering Anglo-Japanese understanding. Chocolate: the definitive guide by Sara Jayne-Stanes won the Guild of Food Writers Jeremy Round Award for Best First Cookbook 2000 and was short-listed for an André Simon Award, and both Chocolate: the definitive guide and Flavours of Greece by Rosemary Barron won their respective categories at the World Cookbook Awards, 2000
It is highly satisfying to be acknowledged for our and our authors' achievements since Grub Street's aim is to publish the very best in contemporary and classic food writing.
We hope you enjoy finding out more about us by browsing our site.
What others say about us
Thank goodness for Grub Street, a specialist cookery-book publisher which, along with Prospect Books (of which I will write more, another time), has set new standards for British food books. Grub Street books are different. For one thing, although they are extremely attractively produced, with sunny artwork on the covers, many of them have no pictures inside. This is because Anne Dolamore, the firm's co-director, first got interested in food writing through the columns of Jane Grigson and she believes that the text is the part of cookery books that really matters.
This is a pretty radical view in the bookselling trade. 'Cookery books without photographs don't sell,' buyers kept telling Dolamore when Grub Street first started publishing food books 12 years ago. They were wrong. Grub Street has flourished, and now, in the era of internet book sales and book superstores, is doing better than ever, having built up a back-list of more than 60 books.
What distinguishes Grub Street books is not just their alluring recipes, but their authoritative tone. You know that if you buy Anissa Helou's Lebanese Cuisine or Colman Andrew's Catalan Cuisine or Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of South-West France or Edite Vieira's The Taste of Portugal, you will not only learn about the food but also about the culture of the place in question. Grub Street strikes a good balance between regional cookery books (from Sicily to Morocco, from India to Britain), specialist cookery books (Essentially Aubergines is one, winningly singleminded, example), reissues of classic culinary texts (such as The Constance Spry Cookery Book) and quirky, unclassifiable books, such as Tom Stobart's The Cook's Encyclopaedia, with its eclectic list of entries, including bingleberry, quahog and zamikand. Dolamore is herself an adventurous cook and many of the books - Shirley Booth's Food of Japan, for one - have originated in her desire to learn to cook a particular new cuisine. But she is firmly against ' reinventing the wheel'. Occasionally established food writers will come to her and say, 'What do you think I should write about?' to which she replies, rather formidably, 'If you ask me that, you're never going to get on my list.'
Many authors, argues Dolamore, only have one great cookery book in them. Other publishers will urge authors on to superfluous follow-up books, making them flit from rustic Italian to barbecues with dizzying speed. Dolamore does the opposite, encouraging writers to cover one subject definitively and passionately, and then stop. This is good for the author and their reputation, because Grub Street books stay in print much longer than other cookery books. But it is also good for the consumer, because it spares us all those recycled recipes that we read our fill of elsewhere. Once you have a Grub Street book on your shelf, you are unlikely ever to part with it.
23rd Jan 05, Sunday Telegraph.
From the goodwebguide.co.uk
Grub Street is a publishing phenomenon. It has carved out a very comfortable niche, reprinting old favourites and building up a library of world cuisine titles, along with essential books on basic cooking. Anne Dolamore of olive oil fame is the force behind this successful small publishing house and she spoke to the Good Web Guide about the company, which celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year.
Anne Dolamore was a marketing consultant for most of the big publishers from 1982 to 1988, advising them on selling books in areas outside of normal book traders. She met her partner to be, John Davies, who ran Grub Street packaging books. A business venture followed with Anne helping out on special sales of one of Grub Street's books, 101 Uses of a Condom. At the time, Anne had just written a book on olive oil for Macmillan.
Where did it all begin?
They set out publishing their own titles on cookery and military aviation with a bit of humour thrown in. They were later to abandon humour titles as the market became dominated by television tie ins. They decided to concentrate on food, wine and cookery, working on their strengths. They quickly built up a reputation in those areas as they knew the market inside out.
Anne is personally interested in food and wine and spent four years on the Committee of the Guild of Food Writers and two in the Chair. She is a trustee of Sustain, an organisation that campaigns for farming. To her, food is more than just publishing. It is a way of life and she believes that people should be eating better and be able to cook. She publishes from the heart and says 'If I wasn't prepared to go out and buy the book myself, why am I doing this?'
Anne also feels that one of the secrets of their success is being able to judge moods, where interests are going and being there when it has got to that point when a book will sell. They managed this with The Essential Olive Oil Companion, which was first published in 1988. Bookshops weren't interested but sales steadily started to rise and it meant that Grub Street was there when everybody finally woke up and wanted to read about olive oil. The upshot of this success has been that if anybody needs an authority on olive oil, they wheel Anne out.
Of the ten years that Grub Street has been in business, most of their titles are still in print. They have dropped only six in all that time, which again shows their perfect judgement of the market.
In 2000, Grub Street was voted International Publisher of the Year at the World Cookbook Awards in Perigueux. They found this immensely satisfying as they were up against Hachette and Random House, big corporate publishers. They were recognised for doing something different. They certainly wouldn't want to compete and do the same as everyone else. Their books are recognised as a quality brand.
TV Tie Ins
One of the problems that Grub Street face is that the market is dominated by the glossy television tie ins. Their reps find it difficult to convince buyers, who are heavily into these television books, especially as the Grub Street titles by and large have no pictures and lots of text. Their books have always been supported and well reviewed by food journalists. People were complaining that they couldn't find their books in their local bookshop. But all this has now changed with greater access to online shops, such as Amazon and BOL.
Anne believes that 'A whole host of illnesses and conditions can be coped with by diet.' Recently they have published Eat Smart Eat Raw. Its author, Kate Wood, was the editor of a magazine called Fresh and she manages to feed herself and her two young children on a nearly raw food diet. When Anne saw the proposal, it seemed so convincing and made so much sense. Given that people are interested in putting themselves on a cleansing detox diet every now and again, Anne felt the time was right to go ahead with this book.
The books in this list are all written by authorities on particular countries. They have immersed themselves in the local culture and the books are not just a collection of recipes, but give you an insight into the country as a whole. Catalan Cuisine, written by Colman Andrews, has had three reprints. There are 350 pages with no pictures and it is a book about a region of Spain. It just shows once again that Grub Street has got the market taped. Charmain Solomon's Complete Asian Cookbook has been around for quarter of a century. Clarrisa Dickson-Wright, a dear friend of Grub Street, put them in touch with her and they were able to buy the UK rights. Again, this is another huge success.
The Basic Basics
This series is a tried and tested format, which has provided Grub Street with some of their best sellers. Everybody who buys a microwave will buy The Combination & Microwave Handbook. It is not just recipes but tells you how to heat up an ingredient and how to cook on the various heat settings. This is continually reprinting and likewise, Microwave Cooking for One and Two.
Marguerite Patten is now in her eighties and is still beavering away. With over 160 cookery books to her name and a lifetime spent in the food world, her association with Grub Street is a privilege. Anne says that 'If all my authors were like her, I could take six months off every year.' Marguerite is a true professional and Grub Street was thrilled when they published Century of British Cooking. The first print run of her book on Jams, Preserves and Chutneys Handbook sold out in the first six weeks.
History of British Food
Published recently, this is a massive work by Colin Spencer. This epic work has been published in association with Fortnum & Mason, who have given over four front windows for the display of the book. It is a humdinger and one that will be around for a very long time. Even the colour of the cover boasts Fortnum & Mason's livery.
Anne receives about six proposals a week and one or two a year look like possibles. And she knows when she strikes gold. Anne had wanted to work on a Japanese food book for a long time. All the books on the market were written by native-born Japanese and she didn't feel they were getting to grips with the culture as seen through a Westerner's eyes. Shirley Booth was put in touch with Anne and she sent in her proposal. Shirley had made a television programme on Japanese food fallen in love with the country and stayed there for six years. Anne felt that as she had lived in Japan, she was the perfect translator for taking that mystery and culture of the food and being able to put it on paper.
Anne looks after her first time authors. There is great skill in writing recipes and the test of a recipe and it is here that she can lend her capable hand. But she says 'Teaching somebody is fun.' Her role at Grub Street is very much hands on with Anne choosing paper, talking to the designer about the jacket, typeface or even art directing the photography.
Anne will stick to publishing twelve books a year. 'I want to be able to pick a book and say I am proud of this. I don't want to do twenty-four books, where twelve are excellent and twelve are just filling in slots.' Anne believes that there are fewer and fewer good writers around as it's difficult to find places where a writer can cut their teeth. 'It is easier to get on telly than get a book published.'
But no fear, Grub Street will carry on doing what they do so well.
'If the best book has been done on a subject, why do another one? That is why I like reissuing books. Leave it be and try and find something new.'
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