Virago £9.99 (405pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop : 08430 600 030
The Joy of Eating: The Virago Book of Food, Edited by Jill Foulston
Friday 13 November 2009
Sampling this banquet of all-female food writing – the sorority is justified by the editor on rather curious grounds, "in the most basic sense, women are food for their offspring" – the reader may be surprised to discover a meagre serving from the stars of literary gastronomy. Jane Grigson, Alice B. Toklas, Alice Waters and Elizabeth David are represented by a single dollop, though the latter's contribution is one of her wisest paragraphs: "If I had my way, my Christmas Day eating and drinking would consist of... a smoked salmon sandwich and a glass of champagne on a tray in bed."
In compensation, Foulston includes such quirky nibbles as Reay Tannahill on ersatz foods (some duff Parmesan from 1969, "turned out, on analysis, to consist of grated umbrella handles") and Sarah Waters's heroine from Tipping the Velvet who, two decades after quitting oyster-shucking in Whitstable, maintained she could "still catch the scent of liquor and brine... in the creases of my palm."
In a similar vein, Julia Child insists that "the memory of a good French paté can haunt you for years." For a final morsel, Foulston turns to Brillat-Savarin.
No, it's not a solitary male inclusion but Pierette B-S, great-aunt of the culinary philosopher. Shortly before her 100th birthday, she announced: "Bring on the dessert... I think I am about to die."
If you ever feel yourself succumbing to a diet, here is the antidote.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 2 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Hey Arnold! is coming back, and possibly Rugrats too
First Look at Bryan Cranston transformed into LBJ for HBO’s ‘All the Way’ film
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Prog rock finally comes of age with launch of the first Official Progressive Chart
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 100,000 back our campaign
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up