The Cowley Road Cookbook
by Martin Stott
Signal Books 2015 127pp
The Cowley Road Cookbook – Culinary tales and recipes from Oxford’s most eclectic street came out in 2015. It has over 100 illustrations, 60+ recipes, 128 pages is in full colour and costs just £14.99. Take a look at the reviews at the bottom of this post.
Take a sneak peek inside
Cowley Road, Oxford, is a wonderfully chaotic, cultural and culinary crossroads. Geographically adjacent to the university’s dreaming spires, ethnographically it might as well be on another planet. From its holy medieval origins to its attraction some 800 years later as another place of pilgrimage for the first wave of post-war overseas emigrants, this is a fascinating story of a street with its own unique ‘sense of place’. Today this is evident in its myriad and multicultural food shops, restaurants, cafés, take-aways and other eateries as well as allotments, community gardens, street markets, and annual carnival. This is also a history of hospitality – for outcasts/lepers, pilgrims, travellers, scholars, refugees and migrants.
Cowley Road’s varied gastronomy is prepped, cooked and served up with a selection of over 60 historic and contemporary recipes to give a real taste for this culinary ‘terroir’. From a 13th-century pottage dish to modern day celeriac and potato mash with Oxford sausages, and Rick’s ackee and salt-fish, The Cowley Road Cookbook will appeal to anyone who wishes to try a taste of Oxford’s richly diverse food culture.
Where to buy
Stocks basically sold out around summer 2018. It now seems only to be available second hand online from Abe Books for about £25 a copy. So if you see one in a second hand bookshop, snap it up!
My article for the Oxford Mail appeared on 5 November 2015. Read it here. A profile of myself and the book appeared in the Oxford Times on 12 November. The Oxford Times Limited Edition magazine ran an interview with me on the book on 3 December. The book was no 2 in the Oxford Mail’s best cook books of 2015 on 17 December and was reviewed by Daily Info on 28 December.
Sometimes an odd starting point leads to an excellent view. ..tracing the cooking history of one bijou area of Oxford ends up shining a bright light on British food culture. Very tactile, beautifully illustrated… this is the gift for any Oxford-based foodie. Has recipes past.. and present… and excellent advice on foodie counter-culture, growing and shopping. A book after our own heart.
The Taster magazine
Tells the history of one English street through its food … a great idea for a book and there ain’t another like it in the bookshops.
Max Davidson, former restaurant critic, Daily Telegraph
…a model of what local history can do.
Prof Alexandra Harris, author ‘Romantic Moderns’
I love the Cowley Road Cookbook, especially the history, which gave me a new sense of the place I live in.
Kate Clanchy, poet
The Cowley Road Cookbook is much more than just the mere cookbook the title implies as it charts the food history of one of Oxford’s most famous streets.
Richard O Smith, Limited Edition
…gives an insight into the history and diversity of life on the Cowley Road. Each recipe is accompanied by detailed, well written and researched background material and here the author’s knowledge and passion for his subject shines through.
Helen Smith, Daily Info
..a unique insight …. for anyone wanting to taste Oxford’s richly diverse food culture..’
Katherine MacAlister, Oxford Mail
Heathcote Williams, Poet and playwright
Your Cowley Road book is wonderful.
Kevin Ireland OBE, New Zealand poet
..fascinating book …The Cowley Road Cookbook is a job well done…
Helen Peacocke, Oxford Times
I loved your book, especially the history….
Dame Helen Ghosh, DG National Trust
Your book is wonderful.
Kazem Hakimi ‘the chip shop photographer’
..a rich mixture of culture, history, food, and great recipes….fantastic
Prof Lesley Page, former President Royal College of Midwives
..an engaging and highly accessible account of the successive waves of migration that had shaped the diverse culture and cuisine of the street. Katharine Burn & Jason Todd, University of Oxford Education Dept
— Laura Hahn (@lauradhahn) March 13, 2016