A difficult one this... Perhaps I've simply been an academic for too long but I was desperate for the author of this to provide some references to supA difficult one this... Perhaps I've simply been an academic for too long but I was desperate for the author of this to provide some references to support his statements. That, of course, is not something that journalists generally do and I had to keep reminding myself that this is a journalistic and not an academic text. Surely, even if the author doesn't provide references though, it's still well researched? I couldn't persuade myself of that any longer when the oft-repeated but now discredited myth that Maggie Thatcher invented Mr. Whippy ice cream was repeated.
All of that said, I do have some sympathy for the arguments extolled here, I just feel that the text fails a critical reading....more
I still don't see the point of reading restaurant reviews for pleasure.
It's not so long ago that I wrote that of My Dining Hell (Penguin Specials): Twenty Ways To Have a Lousy Night Out and yet here I am again. In my defence, I also pointed out in that review that I saw little point of reading reviews of places I was unlikely ever to visit and on that score, at least, reading this book does not lead me into the realms of hypocrisy.
Will Self was, apparently, once a restaurant critic for The Observer. I didn't know that. Between 2009 and 2012 though, he wrote a serious of columns for The New Statesman where he sought to explore what people actually ate rather than dining out as aspiration. It's some of these columns that are reproduced here. Chinese takeaways, McDonald's, Café Nero, Bird's Eye microwave meals... Moreover, Self devotes little space to discussing the food and considerably more to the social and political questions that surround them.
The author's flocculant verbiage (his phrase not mine) will not be to everyone's taste even if I enjoy it in places. It can in fact be summed up neatly by that phrase - what's wrong with 'woolly words'? The meaning of them is no less precise and in fact would be more widely understood and so convey his message better, there's also a nice alliterative quality to them. The choice of the words he did use then, conveys not so much a desire for precision or even a joy in the use of language but rather a desire to show off. I'd suggest, given his own description, that it's something he's aware of.
Self is arguably almost as famous for his politics as for his long words and it shouldn't be any surprise that this is a largely iconoclastic, if slightly left-leaning collection of writing. I suspect anyone picking this up will know exactly what to expect and won't be disappointed in those expectations....more
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 livingI'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 at 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....more
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 todThis 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....more
I've never seen any of Anjum Anand's TV programs but I was aware of her as 'the new Madhur Jaffrey', so when I saw this book in a charity shop recentlI've never seen any of Anjum Anand's TV programs but I was aware of her as 'the new Madhur Jaffrey', so when I saw this book in a charity shop recently I thought I'd see what the fuss is about.
Anand begins here with a two page introduction in which she states that she believes Indian food is unfairly thought of as unhealthy and full of rich sauces. I'm not sure if it's ever been popularly thought of as unhealthy but perhaps certain people do still think of it in terms of the Angl0-Indian dishes that were a feature of curry house menus in the 1970's and 1980's. She ends the section with a tortuous simile involving Indian food being on the back bench of the UN which, I'm afraid, I didn't understand at all. I was left grateful that she hadn't tried stretching this section any further; she may be a great cook but she's certainly not a great wordsmith.
The bulk of the book then, consists of recipes. My heart sank when the first one consisted of a tortilla wrap. Then the next one and the third too... Tortillas? If you must pander to the fashionable masses then why not make a wrap with a chapati or a paratha? Already groaning then, I wasn't prepared as I turned the page for the fourth recipe to plum the depths of cheese on toast. Later in the book, burgers appear and even a pasta dish with meatballs. Amazingly, in a recipe for crab cakes the author writes 'these are one of the few fusion dishes in my repertoire'. I don't know whether to conclude from that that she doesn't cook most of the recipes she provides in this book, whether she's deluded or simply a fraud.
The recipes themselves may be fine and I can see how they might appeal to many people although, to me, they belong to another era - that of the late nineties fusion food boom. Evaluating them in the context of the title though, I think it's egregious to describe them as Indian food, they simply aren't. As I think I made clear at the start of this review I agree with the assertion that Indian food is so much more than just curries. To make something else and call it Indian food doesn't help anyone understand this though and does a great disservice to a cuisine seeped in centuries of tradition and development.
It may be harsh to dismiss Anjum Anand as a pretty face but she's certainly not Madhur Jaffrey....more
Piedmontese food is quite possibly my favourite cuisine of all, so when I stumbled across this book in the local charity shop I barely hesitated in brPiedmontese food is quite possibly my favourite cuisine of all, so when I stumbled across this book in the local charity shop I barely hesitated in bringing it home.
It's a peculiar volume which is obviously meant to be part of a series. It's lavishly illustrated with colour photographs on every page and regular sections on the history and culture of the region (which here includes Val d'Aosta as well as Piemonte). Such an approach demands more space though and the style and format left me with a feeling that I'd acquired a tourist's souvenir as much as anything else.
There is, of course, a large number of dessert recipes here but there's an almost total absence of any game dishes (there is one rabbit dish and one pheasant) - I find that baffling considering the area's renown in this area. Their omission could be a decision based on what people are likely to cook at home but more likely it relates to available space. This rich region deserves a full and deep treatment from a food writer and I'll continue to keep my eyes open for such a book, for now though, this will have to do....more
As a Britisher who loves his food, I like to think to myself that I know a thing or two about Indian food: ghee is clarified butter; Hindus don't eatAs a Britisher who loves his food, I like to think to myself that I know a thing or two about Indian food: ghee is clarified butter; Hindus don't eat beef. Well, there's just two received wisdoms that Madhur Jaffrey's disabused me of in this book. Hindus do eat beef - when it's from water buffalo. Ghee, meanwhile, is more of a collective noun for cooking fats, with most ghee used in India actually being vegetable oil.
This came eighteenth in The Observer's Best 50 Cookbooks of all Time and, having finally read it, it's obvious why. I've read some of Jaffrey's other books and I was already aware that she was both a good writer and capable of conveying recipes very clearly. Both of those talents are on display here in a book whose age is only shown in the lack of photographs.
The book begins with a twenty page introduction which outlines the author's reasons for writing the book as well as the regional variety of Indian cuisine. This is smattered with personal anecdotes and imagined scenarios (these latter written as pieces of drama) which add to detailed information to create an engaging piece of writing. Jaffrey is someone who plainly not only loves food and sharing but also writing and she allows herself to continue this theme throughout the book. After six pages of 'suggested menus' and extensive notes on herbs, spices and utensils, she returns to the meat of the book - twelve lengthy chapters of recipes grouped as is customary in western cookbooks but each introduced with further essays.
He picks one up delicately with the tips of his right thumb and forefinger, opens his mouth wide, arches his body forward so it will not catch the staining spill, if any, and then stuffs the large paan into his mouth. He goes out into the moonlight licking his lips and chewing contentedly.
Although the title may suggest a typical pan-Indian approach, the author makes clear in her introduction that the recipes here are primarily from Delhi and the nearby Kashmir region. They represent, in the main, the food her family ate when she was growing up. One other Indian cookbook was on the Oberver's list, which I believe was primarily judged on influence, but whereas Indian Vegetarian Cookery creaks a little now this, more than forty years on from first publication, continues to inspire....more
I wasn't sure what to expect of Ethiopian food when I went to work there, several years ago now. What I found surprised and delighted me. It was onlyI wasn't sure what to expect of Ethiopian food when I went to work there, several years ago now. What I found surprised and delighted me. It was only later that I discovered it's a cuisine that's fairly well known in N. America: I'm sure at some point Europe will catch up but we haven't yet.
After much searching, I eventually found this book. On the one hand, it does a fair job of describing Ethiopian culture and food's place within it. That came as a pleasant surprise. The recipes, though, can seem tricky to prepare individually (and, predictably, use U.S.American measures and names - why can I never remember what 'collards' are?) and could probably have been written better. Oddly, for example, a brief description of the dish is often found at the end, rather than the beginning, of each recipe. Knowing how Ethiopian meals work I'd also like to have seen accompaniment suggestions for each dish.
Obviously produced on a budget, and now more than twenty years old, Daniel J. Mesfin's work exceeds expectations in some respects and succumbs to them in others. For now though, there's no competition for cooking Ethiopian food at home, or for eating it in Europe outside of the biggest cities....more
Depending on your tastes, you might be unimpressed with the idea of a recipe book produced by the chef-cum-owner of an Indian restaurant in Bradford.Depending on your tastes, you might be unimpressed with the idea of a recipe book produced by the chef-cum-owner of an Indian restaurant in Bradford. You might be worried that it would contain the worst rich, creamy, same-sauce-different-colour clichés of 1970's Anglo-Indian cuisine. If that's your concern though, look again. Kaushy Patel's restaurant has been hyped by TV shows for its primarily Gujarati inspired vegetarian Indian food and this book delivers tantalising recipes on almost every page.
This is one of those recipe books that's short on the back story and cuts quickly to the chase. There is a short biography but it's only spread over a few pages. A few more contain the obligatory guide to ingredients and then it's nothing but recipes until a few menu ideas at the end of the book. But those recipes...
For some reason, a lot of my meat curries are ones that I've made up myself but when it comes to vegetarian curries, which I actually eat more often... Well, Indian Vegetarian Cookery is one of the most used books in my kitchen. That's an acknowledged classic cookery book but for me it shows its age in its emphasis on store cupboard ingredients. This book is the reverse, it reflects the kind of Indian cookery that we know and love in Britain now with fresh ingredients everywhere - massalas begin with fresh chillies and ginger, not dried like in Jack Santa Maria's venerable work. I've already cooked some recipes from this book and several, I know, will become regular features of my kitchen for years to come. The weekly vegbox just got more interesting again......more
There are striking similarities in reputation between this book and Rick Stein's English Seafood Cookery. Both were published some years before theiThere are striking similarities in reputation between this book and Rick Stein's English Seafood Cookery. Both were published some years before their respective authors' TV careers began and both are still commonly esteemed to be their author's best. Is that just cultural snobbishness? I haven't read enough of Stein's work to comment but I think I can contribute to any discussion of Keith Floyd's relative merits.
I've mentioned in other reviews that I regard Floyd as one of our greatest food writers. Encouraged by his customers to produce a recipe book though, that talent isn't allowed to shine here. "Recipe books" in 1980's Britain were exactly that - a collection of recipes. Often they were produced as part of a fund-raising exercise for some worthy local cause, or else to satisfy the whims of friends, family and ego, and were frequently spiral bound. Books that were printed in large volumes were almost exclusively the preserve of the marketing man - commissioned by Ski yoghurt, Elmlea or Sainsbury's for example. Floyd's Food fits into this pattern perfectly.
For me then, this is far from Floyd's best work but everyone's needs and wants are different. If you're someone who sees time spent in the kitchen largely as a means to an end then you may get much pleasure and use out of this slim volume: 105 recipes are divided between 'sauces', 'starters', 'fish', 'main dishes', 'miscellany', 'summer suppers and salads', 'vegetables' and 'sweets'. For the most part the recipes are of the one pot type that require a minimum of preparation and washing up and they are largely French classics - the oddly named 'miscellany' being the exception to this rule. So, if you're a fan of French rural cooking, get misty eyed over the coq-au-vin you once had in Provence, or the beef in red wine sauce you enjoyed in that little French place in that town, would like to cook a few dishes at home but don't where to start, well... it's here....more
I was surprised and intrigued to see this book listed in The Guardian's '50 Best Cookbooks of All Time' a few years ago. Surprised because I only knewI was surprised and intrigued to see this book listed in The Guardian's '50 Best Cookbooks of All Time' a few years ago. Surprised because I only knew Len Deighton as the author of trashy thrillers and intrigued because I then learnt that he had once been a food writer for The Observer before becoming a successful novelist in the mid-sixties. Before that, he had apparently had a short career as a graphic illustrator and his columns took the form of graphic panels like this one:
One of these columns is pinned to the notice board in Harry Palmer's kitchen in the film version of Deighton's The Ipcress File and much is made of that connection in this reprint, which features blurb from the film's star Michael Caine.
The second half of the book reprints many of these strips with accompanying notes whilst the first half contains more general, short, pieces about such things as equipping a kitchen and - for those who truly wish to emulate Harry Palmer (or, perhaps, Austin Powers) - which wines to buy and keep when first laying down a cellar.
That last bit is something of a clue as to the tone of the book as a whole - it's aimed squarely at bachelors who might want to impress the ladies with their cooking skills (as the cover image also suggests) although, obviously, anyone first embarking on culinary adventures might find something to gain from the text.
It has to be said though, that I did find some of the advice as dated as its near half-century age would suggest and its tone almost as kitsch as its cover. The book focusses almost exclusively on French haute-cuisine - fashionable at the time but no longer so and not to my taste. I found the book in a charity shop for £1 and remembered my earlier intrigue but I'm glad I didn't pay any more for it....more
Hettie Merrick opened a pasty shop in the Lizard now known as Ann's Pasties. Her daughter, the eponymous Ann, has emerged as a champion of proper CornHettie Merrick opened a pasty shop in the Lizard now known as Ann's Pasties. Her daughter, the eponymous Ann, has emerged as a champion of proper Cornish pasties in the last fifteen years, challenging celebrity chefs to get it right and stop mucking around with traditional Cornish food.
This pamphlet is less confrontational than that but it's written from the same ethos of proper Cornish food; a reminder that a proper Cornish kitchen isn't complete without a rolling pin, lots of lard and cream, and big maids. Merrick writes with fondness and style of her memories growing up in Gunwalloe in the 1930's and 1940's, interspersing her recollections of life - from festivals and celebrations to fetching the daily water and eggs - with the food cooked by her mother and aunts. It's a delight....more
I confess, I'm not a fan of Nigel Slater. There, I've said it. The ultimate taboo of the 21st century British food lover. In truth, I've never managedI confess, I'm not a fan of Nigel Slater. There, I've said it. The ultimate taboo of the 21st century British food lover. In truth, I've never managed to watch more than about five minutes of his television programs; I find his persona smug and, predictably for someone who expends so much energy in extolling the virtues of 'unpretentious' food, pretentious.
Coincidentally, one of those five minutes was just the other day. In this show he was interviewing Richard Briers, an actor that I, like many people in Britain, loved for his various comedic roles and children's TV narration. During the show, both interviewer and interviewee were challenged to boil an egg. Slater admitted to being 'disgusted' by eggs and, more amazingly still, that he had never boiled one before. Pulling faces like a spoiled child when he was made to crack the top off his egg didn't endear him to me any further.
Imagine my surprise then, when I found in this book instructions for how to boil an egg. I'm never a fan of recipe books that do that any way - I find it the literary equivalent of teaching your grandmother to suck them - but in this instance, it made me mistrust the author in addition to disliking him. Worse, it comes in a whole chapter of egg dishes where he also tells you how to fry them. Like with boiling them, I can't honestly believe that anyone could need this instruction but, if they did, I'd feel very sorry for them following this advice. Olive oil is not the thing to fry eggs in and only somebody who didn't like eggs could advise such a thing.
Further on, the author gives us a recipe 'inspired by his time in Goa'. This consists of a tin of sardines and some curry powder. I imagine whichever Indian chef 'inspired' this dish would want to join me in punching Nigel Slater in the face if they ever read this.
In light of my confession at the beginning of this review, it may seem odd that I should read two of his books in as many months. The simple truth is that friends and family asked for them as gifts and I took the opportunity to see what the fuss is about. I acknowledged in my review of The Kitchen Diaries that Slater is a gifted writer but I wondered who the book was aimed at. The recipes included here, again, offer nothing to anyone with rudimentary cooking skills and yet the writer's arch-middle-class persona probably precludes him from inspiring others to cook in the way that, say, Jamie Oliver does.
I think I may finally have the answer: Nigel Slater is a sop to the converted, a comfort blanket for the modern British 'foodie'....more
I've long held that the savoury is overdue a revival. I now wonder whether if this little book were reprinted it might just prompt such a revival. SavI've long held that the savoury is overdue a revival. I now wonder whether if this little book were reprinted it might just prompt such a revival. Savouries are the (THE) legacy of Victorian and Edwardian dining to British food: a small, salty and/or spicy dish, often whimsically named that could be served before or after the sweet course or as a standalone snack.
Unorthodox gastronomically, I suppose, and abhorred by the serious wine-lover, the small savoury nevertheless often makes an admirable ending to a meal, like some unexpected witticism or amusing epigram at the close of a pleasant conversation.
Short on essays and preambles, this slight volume manages to pack in more than 200 recipes, both hot and cold, all of which are well written and easy to follow, even 80 years on from initial publication, e.g.:
SWEDISH SAVOURY Hard boil an egg or two, and chop it up finely. Mince an onion, not too large and fry it til golden in some butter. Add a chopped anchovy fillet, or a teaspoon of anchovy essence, mix together and then add the hard-boiled egg. Cook together for a minute or two, and pile up on your toasts. You can vary the proportions according to your liking, but the best combination is one in which neither the anchovy nor the onion predominate.
In the author's note Ambrose Heath states that he has left out 'the ordinary sorts with which we are too familiar'. Presumably he meant Welsh Rabbit and Scotch Eggs, since other familiar dishes like Scotch Woodcock, Angels on Horseback and Devils on Horseback are all present. He also suggests that he wrote this for 'the ordinary housewife' and, indeed, a reviewer at the time wrote that 'here at last comes aid to the distressed hostess'.
Next to that review was a sticker advertising that my copy had first been sold in Fortnum and Mason's. I found that quite amusing. Almost as amusing as the author on soufflés - 'you must... have the staff to prepare them' and the recipe which begins 'a speciality of a friend's cook'....more
This book is one of four culled from Traditional Foods of Britain: An Inventory. Since that book owed its genesis to an EU funded project it's perhaThis book is one of four culled from Traditional Foods of Britain: An Inventory. Since that book owed its genesis to an EU funded project it's perhaps no surprise that the "South West" region is the one generally promoted by the modern British government rather than the traditional peninsula defined region and, as such, this includes foods from Wiltshire and Herefordshire, even though the map at the front of the book does not place these counties in the region. Additionally, the Channel Islands (just four items) and Wales (seventeen), as suggested by the title, if not the subtitle, are included in the book.
This is not a recipe book but a very well researched catalogue of regional British gastronomic specialities. Each item has its physical appearance described, its history and the outlines of its production. The original project investigated regional foodstuffs across the EU and the intention was obviously to identify foods that were in danger of being lost to global production. It's both a fascinating read and a worthy reference work - I now planning on buying its parent volume....more
Keith Floyd was a terrific food writer and you get the impression that this is a book that he really wanted to write. Somewhat peculiarly, it was publKeith Floyd was a terrific food writer and you get the impression that this is a book that he really wanted to write. Somewhat peculiarly, it was published by the BBC but not as a tie-in: Floyd starred in his third TV series that year but that was Floyd on Food, a title rather similar to that of his first, pre-television, book Floyd's Food. It's somewhat anomalous then - he never made a barbecuing TV series, perhaps he (or his producer) though there wasn't enough demand or interest in doing it for a whole series.
This short book is broken into nine sections, including both a preface and an introduction! These set the tone for the book admirably; one is the story of his first cooking experience as a teenager - freshly caught fish over a campfire - and the second a tale from his years living in the Vaucluse. The other sections are mostly grouped around principal ingredients - meat, poultry, fish, offal, vegetables, sauces - but one also covers the different types of braai available (omitting gas fires) and the basics of working with them. He also includes hearths in this list and includes one or two slow-cooking dishes in the recipes to be enjoyed by the fireside in winter. Each section is introduced by another vignette from his life and the recipes are interspersed with boxes of helpful hints - applications of various herbs, etc.
It's the best book of its type that I've read....more
I've always loved pulses. As a child I found their bright, shiny colours and curving, minimalist shapes an exciting thing to find on my plate. Their tI've always loved pulses. As a child I found their bright, shiny colours and curving, minimalist shapes an exciting thing to find on my plate. Their texture was interesting - soft but firm and their flavours delicate. In the summer, when sunlight and rain pushed our garden into over-abundance, we'd all gather around the big farmhouse kitchen table and shed pods of peas and broad beans for hours (oh yes, broad beans - the one pulse I didn't like as a child, I found it far too bitter). That was tedious but now it's another source of fond memories. As an adult, I barely go a day without cooking with them in some way - salads in summer and soups in winter - and I now appreciate them nutritionally as well as for the qualities mentioned above. High in protein and starch, my girlfriend will never agree with me counting them as a vegetable - but they are: rich in various vitamins, minerals and fibre.
So, when I stumbled upon this book in a charity shop, it raised a smile and I bought it.
The inside covers of the book are used, ingeniously, to provide colour photographs of the twenty one pulses mentioned in the text of the book, together with a scale. These are then described in the first sixth of the book which also provides a short history of pulses and general notes on things such as storing, growing, nutrition and preparation. By and large, this is pretty good but, nearly thirty five years after publication, some of the details have, of course, changed with regards to nutrition and, particularly, the archaeological story.
As far as the recipes are concerned, there are two indications as to the book's age. A preponderance of kidney beans and, especially, butter beans, reminds me of my childhood when these were the beans we could get which we couldn't grow. More telling still, a variety of rationing era recipes (under-spiced, for obvious reasons) are provided which provide an interesting side-note to British culinary history alongside abominations of 'foreign dishes'. I was amused that two recipes were given for 'curry sauce' ('English' and 'Indian') and that, even in the seventies, the 'English' variation was hotter. An Indian reader would be appalled by the use of curry powder in either though, this is very much a sign of its time. The idea of serving spaghetti with lentils is also an abomination and I shan't be held responsible for my actions if anyone ever tries serving it to me.
Overall then, I have slightly mixed feelings about this book. It's an interesting piece of culinary history - a snapshot British vegetarianism as the country began to emerge from rationing - but I can't see myself ever cooking from it. I'd like to rate it highly but as a book for the modern kitchen I'm afraid I just can't recommend it....more
I was in some degree scandalised, intrigued, impressed and amused when this book first appeared in my parent's bathroom during my teenaged years. MainI was in some degree scandalised, intrigued, impressed and amused when this book first appeared in my parent's bathroom during my teenaged years. Mainly amused. At the time I think I may have had a brief peek and concluded that it was full of recipes for traditional eye-openers. They are here but there's more to it than that.
You can almost see the glint in the publisher's eye at the conception of a volume on hangovers by Britain's famously inebriated TV chef and this was written at the height of his popularity, shortly before his acrimonious fallout with the BBC and David Pritchard (the man who discovered him and produced and directed all of his programmes for the BBC - he fulfils the same roles for Rick Stein, too). What could be a fairly tawdry cash-in is saved by Keith Floyd's writing. Floyd is one of those rarities that writes in the same way that he speaks - he is garrulous, witty and some how both self-deprecating and ever so slightly patronising all at once - that curiously British public school manner, redolent of the moneyed classes he aspired to throughout his life.
As in his TV programmes he frequently uses the device of referring to, or addressing, a fictional friend called Hector. Here, he's revealed to be a talented GP who has succumbed to drink. His salutary experiences are included both to amuse and warn us while his medical advice on the effects of alcohol are also provided. This is the book's core strength - the advice here has not really altered in the last twenty years and it is given both for general awareness and as a yardstick by which to measure the traditional eye-openers provided. These hair-of-the-dog remedies are given a fair amount of space in such a short book and might be worth a try if that's your thing. It's not mine. (He does also recommend some other, practical, remedies too though - water, fruit juice and foodstuffs, all before, during and after heavy drinking). Most incredibly, he also includes a five day 'de-tox' plan: surely that was ahead of it's time?
Overall then, this is an amusing, short, book that could probably be of interest to those so given but which entertains in equal measure to instructing and so is worth a short read for most....more