Books Not Just For Cooks

Published on BespokeRSVP on 18th June 2012:

I recently read a very inspirational essay in defense of food writing; on how it fulfills us, and not just at the table. Its touching prose inspired me to capture something other than just restaurant reviews on The Bespoke Black Book. So from this month onwards, I will be doing a small round up of food books past, present and future. And as it’s the first of such round ups, it’s apt to start with some books by fellow food writers.

A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William Sitwell

The first book from food writer and editor of Waitrose Kitchen William Sitwell is a foray into the history of food. “A History of Food in 100 Recipes”, as the disclaimer in the introduction says, does not actually contain precisely 100 recipes. Rather, it’s a narrative on food, its cooking and its heroes, through the ages and across cultures; with a whole lot of recipes thrown in for good measure. There are plenty of things to chew over, beginning with Ancient Egyptian bread and finishing at Dinner’s Meat Fruit.

Food Britannia by Andrew Webb

Published last year, “Food Britannia” is a bible and directory of local food across Britain. The author, Andrew Webb, has not only taken a journey around the country but also through the history behind the food and the stories of the producers. You will find entries on everything from Afro-Caribbean food to Yorkshire tea. Aside from being a fantastic read and excellent source of reference, it has also most recently won Food Book of the Year at the Guild of Food Writers Awards.

Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop

Having trained as a chef in Sichuan, China, Fuchsia Dunlop knows a thing or two about Chinese food. Indeed I have spoken to restaurateurs in China who knew Dunlop by reputation. So it’s really no surprise when she recently won the James Beard Award for Food Culture and Travel. Her latest book, “Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking”, is an exploration of Chinese ingredients, with photo-glossary, and simple ways to cook them. No longer is Chinese food a mystery.