Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
From the Downshifting Guru a very entertaining read!
on 11 May 2004
This month, my imagination has been captured, bound and gagged by "The River Cottage Year"; a book I have had a great deal of trouble putting down.
As the title suggests, it walks you through 12 months with Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall, better known perhaps as the shaggy-haired master of all food, free and frugal.
Watched on Channel 4 by devoted following of downshifters, thrifty and experimental cooks, HFW has inspired the nation with his waste nothing style of cooking.
7" by 9 1/2", it gives you a full 1 1/4" of good quality paper, a fabulous smattering of images from his kitchen and a delightful collection of seasonal recipes.
With around 9 recipes for each month and a super preamble to each month preceding them, he writes with a style that makes you think he is an old friend sat at your kitchen table, chatting away, whilst enjoying a large bacon sandwich.
Relaxed, pleasing to the eye and easy to read, each recipe is almost a story and a thorough pleasure to follow, or just flick through with a nice cup of tea.
The pictures by Simon Wheeler leave you entertained and salivating. He seems to have captured Hugh, his kitchen, family, garden and usual surroundings like a professional fly-on-the-wall and even though there are not pictures to accompany every dish, somehow just it doesn't matter.
One of my favourite images is the one underneath the dust jacket, which invites you to open the book to full spread to enjoy something steamy and mouthwatering being pulled from the oven, by a white shirted Fearnley-Whittingstall.
What was that meal I am left wondering?
This is not a traditional style recipe book, it is two steps better in my opinion. It opens eyes to new possibilities and gives frugal food positive sex appeal!
By highlighting the importance of seasonality and where food really comes from, he is challenging the way people view the delights on their plates - to great and positive effect!
With recipes like "Lightly salted relatives of cod in beer batter" to "Flatbread stack with roasted peppers and borlotti beans" right down to good old "Mushroom soup" and "Blackberry, apple and almond cobbler", you cannot fail to find something that makes you want to rush out into your garden to see what you can throw in the pot.
The book and all the food splashes on my favourite pages, sits pretty in a handy place in my kitchen.
If you want to see food in a new light, put it on yours too!