Thursday, March 29, 2007

Books to read and a minor rant...


Picked Eat London by Terence Conran, Peter Prescott and Lisa Linder up today in Foyles and was pleasantly surprised by it as I leafed through on my way home. A nice collection of London food recommendations including restaurants, delis and the like, coupled with some lovely photography and recipes from various chefs in London. It's everything this blog should be if I had enough time and money to plough into it. So save yourself the bother of every reading this site again and go take a look. I'm sure it will date pretty quickly but right now it's a lovely thing to browse, and, best of all, in a clever folded up front cover sort of way, the dust sleeve unfolds into a map. Useless, but kinda cool. Yes, I was sceptical about the Conran thing too, but I got over it.

I'm finding it progressively harder to find cook/food books that I'd actually want to buy these days, I'm finding the whole celebrity chef/restaurant cook book a bit hard to swallow. There are plenty of very pretty new books out there by Matt Moran and Tom Aitken and thier ilk but on close inspection, i.e a quick flick through them in the bookshop and I'm tired and bored within a few pages. People make out these are manifestos, that these some how encapsulate something about these chefs and their restaurants, I'm not so sure. Do I really want to spend forty quid on the Bouchon cook book, when I've already forked out for Antony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook? I went to Bouchon. It reminded me of Cafe Rouge. At least Bourdain cracks a few gags.

The other annoying thing is the seemingly endless run of book based on seasonal produce. Kitchen diaries, My year in the kitchen, A year in my pantry, A year of mindless boredom. I'm all for seasonality and the like but, Christ on a bike, do I really need to know how wonderful you find radishes in May? It's just plain lazy and the irony is half of these books are based in other countries. I mean here we are being told that Umbrian cucumbers are lovely in June with no possible way of getting hold of them in wet and windy South London. It's culinary navel gazing and food porn of the worst kind, masturbatory and pointless. Then again, masturbatory isn't so bad, it's the fucking smugness I can't stand. Smug fucker who lives a lifestyle 90% of the planet cannot afford goes on about his lunch.

Oh, shit...


ann said...

Couldn't agree more about the paucity of good cookbooks coming out lately. My solution? Buy vintage/used.

I love the quirks that many of them have, and you get a glimpse back into the past. And you never have to worry about dripping on them or doodling in them as someone's usually already done so. And sometimes they come with bonus recipes tucked lovingly inside, sometimes from old newspapers, sometimes handwritten. Oh, and they're cheaper!

another south londoner said...

totally agree with the seasonality crap. have you seen any farmers markets in Charlton? No!

(wait, have you?)

Sam said...

there used to be a fantastic little organic farmers market in Greenwich which isn't too far from Charlton. Is it still there on Saturday mornings?

Since the last 3 books I have bought have all been from recommendations from this blog, I am quite happy that you have run out of new books to buy because it is going to save me some money.

Made a very manly leg of lamb from Hugh's book yesterday and it was marvellous