Paperbacks: Plats Du Jour, by William Black

In this soufflé-light prose, Black's peregrination explores the world's greatest cuisine through two dozen dishes. They range from the poule au pot promised for every French household by the admirable Henri IV (it would be a rash commitment now since the dish requires "one large, good-quality boiling hen") to the omelette at La Mere Poulard, Mont St Michel, consumed by a mixed clientele ranging from Edward VII to Trotsky.

If Black sometimes over-eggs his prose ("And, boy, was fondue sexy! As knitted sweater touched nylon blouse, sparks flew"), this is a small blemish in such a genial banquet.