Book Review – Dining By Rail

​As railway enthusiasts and modellers we spend our hobby time trying to recreate an idea of a scene. This can be by spending time recreating in precise detail exact locations and trains in small scales, chasing 1930’s steam trains on the mainline, attending museums or linesiding at your favourite spot. It is about memories and moments. For most of us we hanker over a distant past, or a location far from our homes. 

Also unfortunately what most of us strive to recreate visually or in model form is impossible to recreate in the real world. Just through genealogy we are too late to see what we dream of.

Chasing a nostalgia you were never part of is not always easy. The body can taste, smell and see. If we cannot see what we desire in its truest form, unmolested 1:1 scale, then it leaves smell and taste.

We have all smelt coal dust and steam or oil and diesel. However for the passengers on board were these the real smells of travels and as for the taste?

‘Dining By Rail’ by James D Porterfield has popped through my letterbox for very cheap all the way from the land of the free. 

British Railway cookbooks are sparse and thin, whereas this is a tome to a forgotten era. Its recipes and history leap from the pages. It is the ultimate 3D pop up book. By following the simple recipes suddenly my house is filled with the aroma of the PRR or the C&O’s or the CN’s dining cars and most importantly experience the food eaten on these grand trains as they stretched across America. 

I thoroughly recommend this book and its ability to give the reader another aspect of dipping into railways that may have been overlooked.




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