Review: Food DIY, By Tim Hayward
Bring home the bacon ... and the sausages, kebabs and badger ham
Lisa Markwell is the editor of The Independent on Sunday. She was previously executive editor of The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday and has edited the features pages, and both the Saturday and Sunday supplements. She writes comment pieces for the papers and restaurant reviews for the New Review. Lisa has worked across a variety of newspapers and magazines and can now tick off every publication cycle from daily to quarterly. She is an enthusiastic foodie, mother of two teenagers and drives an electric car. She is writing a book about adoption.
Saturday 20 July 2013
We keep being told that we watch more food programmes on television than ever before, while cooking less. Is the same true of food books? Probably. But one book that won't be bought by anybody who's not willing to roll up their sleeves, sharpen a blade, and don an apron is Food DIY, by Tim Hayward.
This beautifully illustrated and photographed book has been a labour of love for Hayward, who also edits the fantastic Fire & Knives quarterly food journal and is owner of the Fitzbillies restaurant in Cambridge. The diligent research into such subjects as "building a drying cage" and "the offset smoker" (which sounds like a nicotine-addicted film extra rather than the route to deliciously fragrant fish and meat) is clear.
So, yes, by now you'll have gathered that the DIY doesn't stop at exchanging shop-bought biscuits for homemade ones. This is, as the book's subtitle explains, "how to make your own everything: sausages to smoked salmon, sourdough to sloe gin, bacon to buns".
None of this is as daunting as it sounds, thanks to clear, concise instructions. Each chapter takes on a technique and explains it, puts it in context, looks at methods, shows you how to do it and ends with some rather wonderful recipes.
There is quite an emphasis on the meaty – this is a man who has a tattoo reading "Beef and Liberty" on his forearm. Many of the photographs show the author wielding a sharp instrument or a carcass, or both. There's a blowtorch too, for making your own version of that takeaway classic, the doner kebab. But don't be mistaken into thinking that this is the "dude food" bible and that there's nothing here for the more, well, refined DIY diner.
Liberty is the name of Hayward's young daughter, and the most affecting picture in the book is of the pair of them churning butter in kilner jars. There are dainty fruit pies and home-roasted coffee ice creams, a delicious-looking omelette Arnold Bennett, and crumpets that you want to grab straight out of the page. (Just don't mention the badger ham to the faint hearted, okay?)
You'll have realised that I like this book. I find the disconnect between the British and the food they eat profoundly depressing, and if Food DIY persuades even a few of us to shun that supermarket bacon that leeches white scum as it cooks and to have a go at their own, how fantastic. If you fantasise over the perfect pork pie with a proper jelly layer and cut into each deli-bought version only to be disappointed, here is the answer (and a very groovy funnel technique).
There is, of course, the well-rehearsed argument about how time-poor we all are, and how irritating it is to fancy a dish only to read a recipe that suggests you should have started preparing two days before. It's undeniable, the techniques in this book require time. But there's nothing more heart-gladdening, I think, than seeing the fruits of your labour in stacked-up jars or vacuum-packed in the fridge and knowing how much less you spent than a trawl around Waitrose.
One final recommendation: in this book, the closest you'll get to the current vogue for slim/feast food advice is a section on "weight loss"… that turns out to be about how much lighter meat gets as you preserve it.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins
Sherlock series 4: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have to be 'persuaded' to return, says Steven Moffat
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
Oldest footage of London landmarks released
A victory for gender equality on the high seas
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election