Over six hundred authoritative pages, most of them with four recipes each, make this the source on British cookery. Editor Boyd, her research team, and the British Tourist Authority and Farm Produce Council have assembled what amounts to a recipe dictionary for those who've always wanted to make a proper syllabub, bubble and squeek, or haggis, or were curious about Stargazey Pie and Hydropathic Pudding (watered by crushed fruit). The recipes are terse, and many assume some knowledge of culinary technique; as in a U.S. Government cookbook, only essential ingredients and basic steps are provided, leaving variations up to the individual. Introductions to the general sections and recipes, while not in the liveliest prose, hold interest for the historical and regional lore they proffer. We learn, for instance, that the notoriously limp British treatment of vegetables originated in the days when they were seen as food for the meatless poor. Other inescapable Englishisms emerge: half the food seems to be either white or brown, and the other half is a sweet of some sort intended for that comforting institution, tea-time. Hefty and stolid, a testament to John Bull's imposing bulk.