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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A personal memoir of food and family, 31 May 2007
This review is from: A Tale of 12 Kitchens: Family Cooking in Four Countries (Paperback)
Jake Tilson's A Tale of 12 Kitchens is a personal memoir that traces his experiences of food as the binding element of family life. As Jake is the author, cook, designer and photographer - not the usual state of affairs I assure you - this is a particularly intimate account that explores his gastronomic roots and influences.

The book reads like a diary-cum-holiday scrapbook, it is accentuated with family photos, hand-written recipes, and images of products and places that may evoke similar jolts of memory in the reader. His travels through, and life in, four different countries - England, Scotland, Italy and America - inspire his collection of recipes, be it Blizzard Duck in Scotland or Thanksgiving Water Tower Stack from New York.

The recipes originate from a variety of sources - his parents' early attempts at self-sufficiency in Wiltshire, family friends in Tuscany, his Scottish parents-in-law and his own time spent in New York and California. They feel like familiar and much-cherished friends and relations with the photos adding texture and context. Jake's descriptions of gargantuan breakfasts in New York, or assembling burritos in hotel bathrooms in LA are vivid enough to make you long to buy a camper van and head for the hills.

Runner up for Food Book in the 2007 Glenfiddich Food & Drink Awards, Jake also tackles such thought-provoking questions such as `Why do we cook what we cook? What has the deepest effect on our culinary habits - is it childhood, marriage, the neighbourhood or what we saw on television last night?'

I defy anyone not to fall a tiny bit in love with Jake. How can you resist anyone who issues instructions on how to build a tortilla press, should you find yourself without one in the California desert?

Henrietta Green
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