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Are cookbooks as innocent as they seem?

When you pluck a cookbook from the shelf, you’re probably looking for inspiration for dinner. But what if that book of recipes has a hidden political agenda? Jane Levi finds layers of propaganda on a bed of subterfuge, with some social engineering on the side

The children’s best friend DOCTOR CARROT

When, where, how and what we buy, cook and eat might feel like neutral choices, but sometimes cookbooks have a hidden message that might not be obvious at first glance. Let’s take that one stage further…Can food writing ever be propaganda? It’s an uncomfortable thought because, historically, the word has become linked inextricably with oppression. Even Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Minister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, acknowledged that propaganda “always has a bitter aftertaste”. His work for the Nazi party is almost certainly one of the reasons we think of propaganda as evil. Yet propaganda isn’t necessarily manipulative and dishonest – sometimes it can open us up to new ideas.

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About Delicious Magazine

The May issue of delicious. has everything you need for the best bank holiday feasting, with a laid-back brunch, juicy tarragon roast chicken, proper lemon curd sponges and more. If you’re planning a walk, be sure to pack the brilliant picnic dishes from River Cottage’s Gill Meller. You’ll also find homemade scampi, duck ragù, good-for-you veggie ideas and easy midweek meals, plus the rules and recipes guaranteed to lift your cooking to the next level.
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