66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Another thing of beauty from Nigel - and practical too!,
This review is from: Tender: Volume I, A cook and his vegetable patch (Hardcover)
The best cookery books are practical, inspirational and well-written, offering not only suggestions for interesting meals and practical techniques but a window into the author's life and values. Nigel Slater's new book scores highly on both counts. If you liked "The Vegetable Diaries" you'll love this - possibly even more. It is, dare I say, a little bit less precious - as if he's relaxed into his daily life and let the food speak for itself.
By all means get this out and use it in the kitchen, but it's as likely to end up on your bedside table. I find it relaxing and therapeutic in my busy life to check in on Nigel and his values, which closely resemble my own. He carries none of the aura of perfection and the personality cult that makes some TV chefs dominate their recipes and turns modern cookery books into exercises in narcissism. You get the feeling that if he uses food stylists at all (and I'm not sure how he'd ever get everything done without them) he'd be very clear about briefing them. The food takes centre stage - it's simple, refreshing, organic and beautiful. If you haven't attempted to grow your own until now, he will almost certainly inspire you with the beautiful photographs of his garden in all seasons and his honest account of the ups and downs of his life as an apprentice "home allotmenteer".
This isn't the first "grow you own" cookbook I've come across by any means - I can strongly recommend Sarah Raven's "Garden Cookbook", but it's refereshing that instead of simply taking us through the year like most of them do, Slater groups his recipes alphabetically by vegetable - it makes things that little bit more practical. I'm sure I'll turn to it repeatedly at times like now, when I'm a bit overwhelmed in courgettes and beetroot.
I've only one quibble, and it's very small - whose idea was it to turn the contents page through 90 degrees so we have to turn the book around to find out where things are? But that's sweating the small stuff when you ought to be sweating the garlic and leeks. Buy it as a Christmas present while it's cheap - and get one for yourself as well because you probably won't want to part with it.