A Brighton based Author, Playwright, Insatiable Reader, Publisher ....and foodie.
I thought I would re-read my bookshelves, prior to a much needed cull. Keepers or charity shop? Please help me decide. Most of the books are beloved old friends, some are new, and some are waiting to be tasted. Some need to GO.
I am convinced that one day I will be found buried under the toppling pile of books on my bedside table, but tant pis, there are worse ways to go. I blame it on my mother. She was a true bibliophile, teaching me to read when I was four, begging me with tears in her eyes that “It would be so much fun!” She was right. It was.
Some of her books I inherited (apart from the Dickens which she adored and I had, and have, an aversion to) So, I thought I’d start with some of her old friends.
Gosh, I love foodie books. NOT cookery books (though I do of course like 'em) but books that lovingly recall forgotten meals along with memorable friends and relatives. Of course *ahem* I wrote one myself, so I would, wouldn't I? But Anna Del Conte who wrote Risotto with Nettles raises the bar. The first thing I learnt which really surprised me was that whole towns were built in Italy to capture the sea breezes, purely for drying out pasta. So whole streets had massive fringes of fresh spaghetti drying in the sun. Must have been a wonderful sight... Also, fresh home-made pasta was in such demand and held in such high regard that women in the war would gather together over the kitchen table, often pulled out in a sunny square and make ravioli or tagliatelle to sell - and then with the money buy dried pasta to feed their families. The food is mouth watering in itself but her life story is amazing too. Shot at, nearly thrown in prison, her first job as an au pair in England, her marriage, her career as a cook are spellbinding. And then, there's the irresistible pull of the Italian food. This is dear to my heart too, so much so, that I am off an a Sicilian adventure very soon to a cookery school in that sun drenched island of lemons. No doubt I shall be making pasta but I sincerely I hope I avoid being shot at.
Oh - the jar next to the book is that wonderful thing that I make this time every year: Damson vodka - perfect for a Winter Twinkle cocktail (one part damson vodka, two pats frosty prosecco)