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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A love story, 23 Oct 2010
This review is from: A Life in Food (Hardcover)
This book is a love story; a life long affair with hospitality, fine dining and comfort food; a must-read for everyone who loves good food, and preparing it for themselves and their loved ones.
The author, Bea Tollman, is the founder-president of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection of thirteen boutique hotels - five in London, two in Dorset, Guernsey, Geneva, Palm Beach and three in South Africa. Her book provides fascinating autobiographical insights into the career she has shared with her husband Stanley over many decades. Photographs of the Tollman's with their family and celebrities - from their early days in South Africa, through the evolution of Red Carnation Hotels to today - are juxtaposed with twenty-nine deliciously illustrated recipes.
`Delicious comfort food has always been my speciality, with each dish highlighting the ingredients and none being overpowering,' Tollman writes. `I believe that most people when dining out or staying at hotels want good value, tasty and satisfying food, without too much complication or fuss.'
Amen to that. There are cookbooks meant for browsing; poetic recipes with a laundry list of esoteric ingredients and minutely detailed dosages and procedures meant to be enjoyed vicariously. Leafing through the pages, you are eating with your mind, your imagination, yet knowing that these are dishes you will never actually attempt to make.

But this is a cookbook of recipes that are simple, easy to follow, lovingly honed over the years, that you know you'll want to make, and that you know will work! It's what I call real food, not messed about food...

`Yes, so many people are going back to that sort of food,' Tollman says. `You can go to a restaurant and everything might look good, piled up, one thing on top of the other. But how can you mix so many flavors together? Are you eating food, or are you eating a creative... picture?'

As a self-catering man, who enjoys cooking for guests, I recommend dishes like `Egg & onion dip;' `Bea's chicken soup;' Bea's favorite chicken liver pate;' `Pot roast brisket & chicken;' `Spaghetti pomodoro;' and the sublime `Hand chopped sirloin' (Hamburger it is not!). `Bea's cheesecake,' and other puddings look enticing, but I'm not a great dessert man.

I would wish for a few more recipes in this delectable coffee table book, and a `rendered down' text of the recipes that I can use in the kitchen.

Roger Collis, October, 2010
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