PITY THE RESTAURANT CRITIC

I want you to spare a thought for the restaurant critic. They may be celebrating their return to their places of worship after months of monastic discipline,  but their lives are not quite as easy as envy might suggest. When I took over as Food Editor of The Guardian in 1989, and after a respectable […]

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WHY I LOVE ITALIAN FOOD

Early one May some years ago I was sitting in one of Reggio di Calabria’s smarter trattorias with Silvia, a schoolteacher and native of the city. Typically, there was no written menu. “What fish do you have?’ she asked the proprietor. It was taken for granted that the fish would have been landed that morning. […]

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THE GLORY OF FUDGE

In the era before television, on wet Saturday afternoons Granny would guide us and guard us while we made fudge; standing on chairs by the Aga; watching butter turn glossy and sink into the darkening sugar; adding a dash of vanilla essence; stirring, stirring with a wooden spoon; bubbles foaming on the surface; molten buttery, […]

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FAT OF THE LAND

My mother was an exceptionally discerning cook, not in the earth mother sense, or as an expression of frustrated creativity, but because good food, properly prepared was a proper part of domestic life. On the eve of her 90th birthday she cooked a venison and chestnut stew for twelve of her demanding family. I have […]

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GRANNY’S HOT CHOCOLATE

Granny was responsible for the earliest gastronomic experience that I remember, when I must have been about four. Granny, my mother’s mother, lived alone in a small cottage at the bottom of the garden, and when I got bored, I’d drop in on her knowing that I would cosseted with a cup of hot chocolate […]

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À LA RECHERCHE DES BANANES PERDUES

The greatest of all laws is the Law of Unintended Consequences, and one of the unintended consequences of The Great Incarceration has been my rediscovery of the gastronomic pleasures my youth, and the greatest of these gastronomic pleasures has been banana custard. I was born in 1947 and grew up during, what is universally agreed, […]

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