Julie Rugg and Lynda Murphy are the compilers of this enthralling collection of food-related literary extracts. A Food Lover’s Treasury is a book about the food that’s in books. Well, if we are lucky, we eat three times each day and food is a subject guaranteed to elicit some kind of comment or emotion from almost everyone, so food has supplied authors and raconteurs with witty, poignant and thought-provoking material for generations.
I could offer many marvellous quotations from this volume… but then there would be no point in buying the book. You will want to own A Food Lover’s Treasury and indulge in long leisurely evenings in front of your winter log fire (OK, sit near the radiator), reading and enjoying.
A Food Lover’s Treasury would provide ideal material for after-dinner speeches at caterer’s conventions or food-writers’ dinner dances. “He was a bold man that first ate an Oyster” was an observation from Jonathan Swift in Polite Conversation. “Cookery has become an art, a noble science; cooks are gentlemen” will be a sentiment promoted by most of you who will appreciate this volume… the author of this quote was Robert Burton (1621) and obviously his quill ran out of ink before he added “… and ladies.”
Woody Allen always has a droll view of society. From Annie Hall comes: “There’s an old joke. Uh, two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ‘em says: ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know, and such small portions.’”
It’s not just the pithy one-liners that find a place here. There are plenty of longer excerpts that give a taste (if you’ll pardon the pun) of the original publication: D.H Lawrence – Sons and Lovers, Charles Dickens – David Copperfield, and George Orwell – In Defence of English Cookery.
A Food Lover’s Treasury is amusing and charming. You don’t need to be a consummate foodie to appreciate this book. Anyone who loves fine words and good writing will devour this with relish.
A Food Lover’s Treasury
Authors: Julie Rugg and Lynda Murphy
Published by: Frances Lincoln
Price: £ 9.99
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018