JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nigel Slater's Eating for England

Would you like me to give you a recipe book?

Actually, this week it's not a recipe book, it's a memoir by Nigel Slater, the one that came out in time for Christmas. It was my Christmas present to myself. A fun read, but not one I'll want to go back to and re-read.

The idea of this book arose when an American radio reporter asked NS to describe British food.

Do I tell them about the meltingly tender lamb from North Ronaldsay, the famous apple hat pudding with its tender suet crust, or the northern teacake known as the fat rascal? Do I have time to enthuse about the joys of medlar jelly, damson gin and the unpasteurised cheeses made down long leafy lanes in Dorset, Devon and Dumfries? Perhaps I should wax eloquent about Wiltshire bacon, sherry trifle, Christmas pudding, or steak-and-kidney pie with its crumbly pastry and dark and savoury filling? Will there be time for name-checks for Scottish heather honey, toasted teacakes, gooseberry fool and Caerphilly cheese? And will they let me squeeze in the glory that is a decent haggis, Welsh rarebit or Cornish pasty?

Or do I tell them the truth? That for every Brit eating our legendary roast beef and jam roly poly there are a million more tucking into Thai green curry and pepperoni pizza. That more people probably eat chocolate brownies than apple crumble and custard, and that it is now easier to find decent sushi than really good roast beef.

The main thrust of this book is Sweets-I-have-loved, Biscuits-I-Wish-They-Still-Made. Amazing, really, that his palate is still intact. There's a lot of dissing English cookery, some of it called for. There's a not-very-nice story about taking his elderly aunt out for lunch. So all my prejudices are intact (although I'd like you to know that I'm probably not going to give away my copy of Kitchen Diaries, at least, not yet). The mix of - to me - irrelevance and negativity means I won't want to read it again. But I'd welcome another view, so I'm giving it away.

Would YOU like it? The usual rules: just email me (joannacary AT ukonline DOT co DOT uk) and let me know why you'd like it, and I'll pick a winner, and post it off. All I'd like you to do in return is write a post about the book, linking back here.

Last week, I said I'd give away my duplicate of Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food. It's going to Anke at Vegan Bounty. She posted some great recipes for this month's Heart of the Matter on soup. And she's a fan of Nigel.

I posted off a spare copy of Jane Grigson's Fish to Helen at A Forkful of Spaghetti ... and here's her post, her first take on this excellent book.

Related links:

Would you like me to give you a book?
Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food

1 comment:

Anke said...

ooohhhh... uuuhhh... oh joy!!!! I'm getting the booooook... *dancing-exitedly-and-using-way-too-many-exclamation-marks"

thanks, joanna... seriously, you are my best from now on :-)