The Bloomsbury Cookbook Recipes for Life, Love and Art

Jans Ondaatje Rolls

Sheds light on the vivid personalities, ideas, and achievements of the Bloomsbury Group from a unique culinary perspective


Throwing aside the stifling patriarchy of late Victorian Britain, the Bloomsbury Group fostered a fresh, creative, and vital way of living that encouraged debate and communications, as often as not across the dining table. In The Bloomsbury Cookbook, Jans Ondaatje Rolls collects more than 180 recipes for dishes that take us into the very heart of their world through the meals around which they congregated, argued, debated, laughed, and loved.

Gathered at these tables were many of the great figures in art, literature, and economics as the modern world was created and tirelessly interpreted: E.M. Forster, Roger Fry, J.M. Keynes, Lytton Strachey, and Virginia Woolf, among many others. Arranged chronologically from the late 19th century through the ascendency of the group between the wars, all the way to their present-day legacy, the book gathers together hundreds of photographs, letters, journals, paintings, and delicious recipes—some handwritten and never-before-published—that bring to life the group’s lingering breakfasts and “painting lunches.” Part cookbook, part social and cultural history, The Bloomsbury Cookbook will delight the modern chef searching for a certain distinctiveness, but also recreates an intimate portrait of a vastly influential intellectual and artistic community.


Through painstaking research, Rolls has pieced together a gastronomical history of the Bloomsbury group, providing an intimate peek into the past and revealing a new facet of the group's friendship…Rolls offers readers a chance to experience the Bloomsbury group like never before.

— Victorian Homes

Plumbs an inarguably rich archive of food references and recipes among Woolf's circle… Ondaatje Rolls's whimsical sensibility, good humor, and excellent storytelling skills are distinguishing features of the entire work.

— Woolf Studies Annual

Truly an artifact that offers an intimate tableside experience to witness the lives, dreams, conversations and meals of one of our most influential artistic and intellectual communities.

— Publishers Weekly

Seamlessly weaves together history, recipes, hand-written notes, and liberal quotes from the characters involved for a unique literary and culinary feast.

— Saveur

Just when you think everything has been written about the Bloomsbury Group …The Bloomsbury Cookbook offers a fascinating culinary perspective. Much more than a cookbook…A social and cultural history liberally spiced with gossip, allowing us to “taste” the heady lives of the Bloomsbury Group.

— El Paso Times

A revelatory collection of art, history, photography and literary memoir of the Bloomsbury Group, as seen through recipes culled from the culinary archives and personal cookbooks of its members.

— Shelf Awareness

A well-written and well-researched work that uses food to reintroduce readers to a fascinating group. Public libraries should consider.

— Library Journal


— Midwest Book Review


Jans Ondaatje Rolls


Jans Ondaatje Rolls is the author of the cookbooks Bosham Bisque and Chester Chowder.