Just looking up Margaret Costa’s Four Seasons Cookery Book – a friend loaned it to me the other night and I was wondering how much it would cost to get my own copy! – and I came across this article by pedant in the kitchen, Julian Barnes. I thoroughly enjoyed his debate about and efforts to cull his collection. His “certain words of advice, all of it paid for in money” are worth taking a look at, especially number 5 – “Never buy a juice book if you haven’t a juicer” – apropos of the book that caused the whole conundrum, Nigel Slater‘s Juice. Juice is the one Slater book that I haven’t purchased but, by coincidence, I got it out of the library yesterday. And no, I don’t have a juicer either.
As regards the Four Seasons Cookery Book, it’s not as if I really NEED another cookbook but Margaret Costa has a lot to recommend her, despite Barnes’ dismissal of all but one of her recipes. I’ve developed a love of seasonal cookery books recently (Amanda Hesser‘s The Cook and The Gardener, At its Best: Cooking with Fresh Seasonal Produce by Margaret Brooker, Xanthe Clay’s marvelous collections of Daily Telegraph readers’ recipes – In Season and It’s Raining Plums) and this seems like the original and, dare I say it, perhaps the best? Well, I’m certainly not going to buy it while I’m in New Zealand – it’s not even 12 months since I arrived and I already have a more than respectable and difficult to transport collection here – but maybe when I go home…along with Nigel’s The Kitchen Diaries and Claudia Roden’s New Book of Middle Eastern Food. This, of course, despite the fact that there is a whole library of cookbooks waiting for me in Ireland. I’m starting to feel like Heidi over on 101 Cookbooks!