I've never read anything by Jay Rayner before, nor have I ever read any restaurant reviews except when I might be going there. Why would I? Not living...moreI've never read anything by Jay Rayner before, nor have I ever read any restaurant reviews except when I might be going there. Why would I? Not living in London that means that I've almost certainly never read any restaurant reviews in the national papers. Working from that standpoint, I can conclude two things from this book:
1) Jay Rayner can write. His columns have the same smug, condescending but simultaneously enthusiastic style that occasionally revels in language as his radio presenting.
2) I still don't see the point of reading restaurant reviews for pleasure. They are, obviously, about restaurants - not food or experiences. That somebody I don't know had a good or a bad meal at some place I'm never going to eat seems about as irrelevant to my life as it's possible to be. Presumably, if you're reading this review it's because you're interested in the book, not because you wish to be entertained. The thing is, sparkling writing can only ever burnish the subject: it is, if we're using food metaphors, the au poivre. No matter how good the sauce may be, if I'm not interested in the steak then it's pointless.(less)
For some reason this book has proven highly influential amongst a certain group of archaeologists. It's also proven fairly contentious among philosoph...moreFor some reason this book has proven highly influential amongst a certain group of archaeologists. It's also proven fairly contentious among philosophers. Both have noticed that it largely concerns technology as much as art.
In truth, I struggle to see the reasons for either its influence or its contentiousness. I'm not a philosopher but Martin Heidegger's musings come across to me largely as Immanuel Kant's thoughts on science and worlds rehashed through a glaze of René Descartes's wax argument. As such, the central point of his text seems to be that yes, trees falling in the woods do make a noise when there's no-one there to hear them - things exist outside of our own senses and in a sense of their own. That's a little bit common-sensical, isn't it?(less)
I think this might be one of the better Discworld books, so it may come as a surprise that I'm only giving it three stars. There's a couple of reasons...moreI think this might be one of the better Discworld books, so it may come as a surprise that I'm only giving it three stars. There's a couple of reasons for that - firstly, I recently gave the same rating to The Darling Buds Of May and I can't honestly say that this was better or more enjoyable; secondly, I've never read, watched or in any other way interacted with The Phantom of the Opera. I'm simply not a fan of opera or musicals and consequently know very little about them.
This is a very well written and focussed effort from Terry Pratchett but, even though a deep knowledge of Gaston Leroux's famous tale, or of the conventions of musical theatre generally, is not required to enjoy the book I do feel that they'd help the reader take an extra dimension from it (although I did appreciate the dig at Andrew Lloyd Webber).(less)
Colin Renfrew kicks off this book with a highly amusing (and largely fair) attack on post-processualists before admitting that its purpose is in no sm...moreColin Renfrew kicks off this book with a highly amusing (and largely fair) attack on post-processualists before admitting that its purpose is in no small part to incorporate post-processual theory into processual method.
Nathan Schlanger outlines the history of chaîne opératoire approaches to lithic analysis and its cognitive underpinnings. In chapter fifteen, Karlin and Julien describe the insights that can be made into collective enterprise and apprenticeships through the adoption of a approach to lithic analysis. (less)
This is a tie-in book for a restaurant I've never heard of (perhaps I would have if I was a hip Londoner?). As is common with these kinds of books tod...moreThis is a tie-in book for a restaurant I've never heard of (perhaps I would have if I was a hip Londoner?). As is common with these kinds of books today, it begins with a (very) short history of the restaurant which in this case if pretty laughable; the book coming less than two years after the restaurant first opened.
If there's such a thing as Tex-Mex than I guess there must reasonably be such a thing as Californian-Mex. If there is, this is it. Despite claims to the contrary, this is not authentic Mexican cuisine and I simply didn't know how to react to the recipe that called for '200ml Dr. Pepper'.
Aside from the brief history there's very little here apart from the recipes and newcomers to Mexican food may be a little confused when, for example, in the very first recipe masa harina is called for making tortillas. Yes, a bit of common sense might suggest what this is but nowhere in the book does it say that masa harina is flour (although I think, technically, it should refer to a dough). Obviously tortillas are pretty fundamental to Mexican cuisine and to most dishes in this book. It is, then, a case of sink or swim and it's perhaps not the best book for the novice.
If it's not for the novice though, who is it for? I've already suggested that it's not a book of traditional recipes. Anyone already comfortable with the techniques of Mexican cooking in Britain will, I'm sure, be able to concoct their own flavour combinations if they wish, so it's probably not for them. Quick, fusion-type tortilla recipes, meanwhile, abound in more popular cookbooks so it's hard to see how anyone who isn't a big fan of the restaurant could gain much from this.(less)