Monday, October 5, 2009

English ladies who write cookbooks

I love to read cookbooks. For someone introduced to cooking quite late in life, there is no better way to catch up. Besides the functionality of it, they appeal to me in terms of aesthetics. Beautiful food visuals seduce but there are other aspects that heighten the pleasure of the senses such as the use of a rich colour palette, typography and the stylish use of crockery.
Sophie Dahl's "Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights" - She is the granddaughter of Roald Dahl which explains why the title of her cookbook sounds quite like that of a Roald Dahl storybook. She was a top model who didn't quite fit the mould of a typical model, being a voluptuous size 14. She lived and worked in New York for many years before returning to Britain. A food author is hardly a career you would expect from an ex-model as we often hear how models starve themselves to maintain their figures but it is amusing as Sophie tells her stories between pages of receipes of delicious food. How she stumbled into modelling and as a girl, the influences her grandma and her culinary trained mother had on her. Stories and anectdotes do give cookbooks a personality. Cookbooks from the past used to be an impersonal selection of receipes but now they are quite a delight to learn and read as well.
Jo Pratt's "In the Mood for Food" - Jo Pratt used to assist Gary Rhodes on his BBC show and has also worked alongside Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver but now, she is making a name for herself on her own. It is the prettiest of the three books that I've bought. If Sophie's book evoke glamour, then Jo Pratt's book is about romance. She has a very pretty fushia design running throughout the book and I especially love her dessert suggestions including lemon cheesecake muffins and heart shaped panna cotta with rose syrup.
Tana Ramsey's Family Kitchen - a cookbook from the wife of Gordon Ramsey. Her four kids are a strong feature in this book and she writes with a genuine warmth and love for children. She emphasises a lot on getting kids to try new foods and to help themselves to the right amount of food instead of over indulging in one particular type like pizzas and hamburgers. She recommends receipes that children will love as well as hot soups which are most comforting for kids when they are ill. There is also a whole section devoted to receipes for children's parties.
Looking at the trend, the success of Nigella Lawson has probably paved the way for more ladies to take personality a step furthur when it comes to cook books. Her anecdotes and thoughts are such a joy to read. Her fridge raid in the middle of the night adds quite a good last touch to all her shows as it makes her more real. Plus the fact that she is not slim. I do think it is rather ironic that Britain , a country that isn't really famous for its cuisine has these ladies and men making waves with their cookbooks. It all started with television shows and of course brilliant marketing.

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