Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm in love with a food romance

Ever since discovering the Tamasin Day Lewis’ "West of Ireland Summers" cookbook serendipitously whilst in Ireland celebrating H’s wedding I have been a fan of her writing. And when I knew that a new one – Where shall we go for dinner?” was appearing on the horizon, I made sure I added it to my wish list. I didn’t know what to expect as The Kitchen Bible and Kitchen Classics had been thorough tomes and I was intrigued how she would follow this up. And this is how she did it with a very personal foodie narrative winkling out some incredible edible experiences in Europe, meeting a wonderful American cheese emporium owner and exploring their respective gastronomic worlds together both sides of the Atlantic. Tamasin also explains her early evolution into a foodie and I have to admit I have never coveted someone’s relatives so much before. She evocatively described her early years with her Irish poet father and his friends, the extraordinarily poignant last weeks of her father’s life in the rambling home of her godmother Elizabeth Jane Howard who was married to the inveterate alcoholic Kingsley Amis. After her father’s death she asked King’s College Cambridge to hold one of the first places they offered to women and live with her second cousin in London and learns to cook via osmosis from his dress designer first wife who produced miraculous Sunday lunches for their many glamorous friends like Manolo Blahnik and Katherine Hamnett.

At the end of each chapter the essence of the culinary adventures described are captured in a handful in a few perfect recipes - the Risotto Balsamico sounds so decadent and unusual, the White Truffle Pasta fabulously extravagant and the Quiche Lorraine with a Crisp Bacon Top a nice twist on a classic.

The book is subtitled “A food romance” and it is very apt, a romance with good food and with the new man in her life and could possible be summed up by one of my favourite food quotes from Harriet Van Horne - "Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."

No comments: