The books in Penguin’s Great Food series might be small but they’re perfectly formed. For these slim little pocket – or handbag – volumes, the publishing house chose twenty writers from a variety of eras, from Samuel Pepys and Eliza Acton to Alexandre Dumas and Claudia Roden.
Each of the books cherry picks a selection of their best writing on food and are packed full of brilliant ideas, interesting thoughts and recipes that you’ll want to try. There’s a vivid account of killing carp, pigeons and duck in the 1940s for Murder in the Kitchen (recipes for all included) from Alice B Toklas and Alice Waters’ simple mantra of eating locally, sustainably and seasonally. The one thing all authors seem to have in common is their simple greed for and appreciation of good food.
If you’ve ever wondered what Charles Lamb had to say about roast pig, wondered why every last chef goes on and on about Elizabeth David or wanted to peep into Isabella Beeton’s writing, these books are a great introduction. The only problem is, that like the most flavoursome titbit, they’ll leave you wanting more.
New books on my must buy list? Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, The Alice B Tolkas Cookbook and anything at all by MFK Fisher
Must Try: Alice B Tolkas’ Haschich Fudge (but of course!), Orange and Olive Salad from Alice Waters, Eggs in Hell by MFK Fisher
The Great Food Series is published by Penguin.