A Feast of the Literary Kind

September 4th, 2008

I have a few books to share with you today. It’s that time of year of course, when lots of new books are released and, let me tell you, we’re really being spoiled on the foodie front.

Firstly, very exciting news for those who don’t already know, Nigella Lawson has a new book due out next month! And it is surely the ultimate in food porn for us home cooks – a book completely dedicated to Christmas! My heart is all of a flutter. I’m about to pre-order it but I just can’t wait – it’s so exciting! Goodness, only a Nigella book about Christmascould bring about so many exclamation marks in one paragraph.

Next up is Jamie Oliver, targeting the ‘can’t cook, won’t cook’ market with ‘Jamie’s Ministry of Food: Anyone Can Learn to Cook in 24 Hours’out on 2nd October. Gordon Ramsay is inviting us round to eat at his table with ‘Cooking for Friends: Food from My Table’due out on the 15th September, and Rick Stein is going ‘Coast to Coast’next month.

One of the many nice things about obsessing over cook books and writing a food blog is that you sometimes get sent new books to take a look at, like ‘The Edible Mushroom Book’I was sent recently. There seems to be a bit of a fad for mushroom books lately. I can’t say I’ve actually flicked through any of them so can’t compare them with this one, but can only review it in its own right. It’s a cute, hardback book with thick, full colour pages in a handy A5 size for carrying around as you explore the wilderness in your hunt for edible mushrooms. It’s a concise book with a visual guide to the different varieties, identification notes, and then a page long information page on each type. There are details on where to look, how to pick and, most importantly, the poisonous ones to avoid. The second part of the book is full of cooking methods and recipes. A great little book and the perfect present for foodies and mushroom lovers.

Finally I must tell you about a little trip down memory lane I’ve recently taken. My mother in law gave me some old cook books to take a look at (aren’t mums and mum in laws great for that sort of thing?) and one of them was ‘The Dairy Book of Home Cookery’. Some of you must remember this book; the milkman (remember him?) sold it on his rounds back in the 70s and 80s. I distinctly remember my mum’s copy, which I don’t think she has anymore, and looking through it as a child. Flicking through my mother in law’s book and looking at the pictures has brought the memories flooding back. It’s a really good book, packed with traditional recipes along with then-contemporary ones, and the great news is that there are used copies on sale at Amazon.co.uk. I remember the scones and the Victoria sandwiches, the risottos, the pastries and the biscuits. And then there was the stuffed peppers, the banana splits and the crown roast of lamb decorated with cherries (yup, cherries) and cutlet frills. Ahh retro cooking at its best! Prawn vol-au-vent, anyone?

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