Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Food writing and cookbooks

After discovering Claudia I looked for cookbooks by people who really knew particular cultures very well. I bought everything she had written, her book of Mediterranean food, her book on Italian food, and then I started on the American writer Paula Wolfert. Paula also immersed herself in food cultures. The first book I bought by her was about Moroccan food. After that it was Marcella Hazan, the goddess of all things Italian.

All these writers brought different things. Paula Wolfert sounded like a greedy anthropologist, Claudia like someone yearning for home, Marcella like a no nonsense but helpful and supremely capable Italian lady who would show you better than anyone else how to make pasta or risotto or ciabatta.

This is a longish piece by Diana Henry, a food writer I have only recently discovered.  It is long but worth a read not only because she writes well but also because she introduces you to so many excellent cookbooks.

Lately though, I've realised a fondness for British food writing. Looking back, I suppose it isn't so surprising. I was weaned on a great deal of British children's literature and somehow every book seemed to have rapturous descriptions of tea! cake! scones! clotted cream! treacle tart! meat pie! grilled kippers! sizzling bacon! buttered toast!

Speaking of treacle tart and children's lit, do have a look at this blogpost: it is a winning combination. It has both a recipe for treacle tart and also a selection of well chosen quotes showing that treacle tart was Harry Potter's favourite dessert.

And now if you will excuse me. I've gone and made myself hungry from reading all those descriptions and I need some milo and biscuits.