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The Plagiarist in the Kitchen Hardcover – 20 Oct 2016
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"A wonderful cookbook . . . defiantly and hilariously unprecious, even as it demonstrates on every page the author’s discernment as a gourmet. Periodically Meades erupts in wittily splenetic denunciations of holier-than-thou food ist rhetoric. [The Plagiarist in the Kitchen] instantiates a philosophy of food that is wiser and cleverer than anything you will read under the burgeoning academic rubric of “philosophy of food”." (Guardian)
"Meades returns now as defiant, playful, and possibly punch drunk as ever . . . The Plagiarist in the Kitchen is a cookbook in the mode of, say, The Futurist Cookbook, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, or a good old-fashioned M. F. K. Fisher." (Times Literary Supplement)
"Meades is one of our most eloquent and excellent iconoclasts . . . Although the prose is as opinionated and elegant as you'd expect, this is a brilliant, magnificently old-fashioned cookbook." (Mail on Sunday)
"The Plagiarist in the Kitchen is hilariously grumpy, muttering at us “Don’t you bastards know anything?” You can read it purely for literary pleasure, but Jonathan Meades makes everything sound so delicious that the non-cook will be moved to cook and the bad cook will cook better."" (Best Summer Reads Guardian)
"Witty, forthright and full of excellent recipes. A welcome companion for self-catering holidays." (Summer Reads Spectator)
"Meades reasonably observes that 'no one reads a cookbook cover to cover', but for obvious reasons I did this one, and I don't regret it. It is quite the funniest I've read." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Meades was for 15 years from 1986 the restaurant critic of the Times, a calling he approached with polymathic wit, much copied, rarely bettered . . . The Plagiarist in the Kitchen is a personal food odyssey, a book of recipes, each with a story of how he came by it, and why exactly he is passing it off as his own." (Observer)
"The Plagiarist in the Kitchen, an intriguing read as any Meades follower will suppose – peppered with digressions, spleen, literary references, jests and arcane knowledge – is also a repository of sound European recipes." (Evening Standard)
"Meades is a hugely entertaining writer and the book is peppered with anecdotes and contrarian statements: "So far as I can recall I have not eaten guacamole," is just one example." (Restaurant Magazine)
"Meades has been compared, favourably, to Rabelais and, flatteringly, to Swift. The truth is that he outstrips both in the gaudiness of his imagination." (Henry Hitchings Times Literary Supplement)
About the Author
Jonathan Meades is a writer, journalist, essayist and film-maker. He is the author of Filthy English, Peter Knows What Dick Likes, The Fowler Family Business, Museum Without Walls and Pompey. In 2014, he published the first volume of his autobiography, An Encyclopaedia of Myself.
His many films for the BBC include Abroad in Britain, Meades Eats, Meades on France and, most recently, The Joy of Essex and Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloodymindedness Concrete Poetry.
The Plagiarist in the Kitchen is his first cookbook.
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I am glad he did. A companion rather than a cookbook and ofcourse likeall great works of culinary literature absolutely no photography.
Anyone who cherishes Meades' approach will revel in this original contribution to "culinary writing": excellent, straightforward and well-organised recipes are liberally seasoned with acerbic observations ("celebrity chefs" get a well-placed kicking), intriguing anecdotes and the characteristic dark Meades humour that always cloaks a genuine regard for food, people, language, literature, art, place, you name it ("Everything is interesting", remember).
That index also name-checks the late Anthony Burgess. Considering that, between them, these two have given us some of the greatest prose in living memory (Earthly PowersEarthly Powers (Vintage Classics), PompeyPompey: A Novel), you could be forgiven for getting this book for the joy of the writing alone. The cuisine, though! this is "food-writing" in which the author's own (OK, self-admittedly, relishingly "borrowed/stolen" etc) dishes knock many sleb chefs right out of the kitchen (from Almond Soup to Hot-Pot: with a perfect set of drinks hints to wash it down).
Even if you're never going to try out any of the delicious dishes collected here, you should enjoy this engaging excursion for Meades' ever-insightful voice: his prose makes anything he offers well worth your time. But, actually – and here's the book's best "joke" – his recipes work better than most: mainly because they combine authenticity and knowledge with have-a-go verve and, well, exceptionally good (if insistent) taste. It's easy to follow his always accurate, occasionally sarcastic, directions; and, if you do, you'll be able to taste the evidence for yourselves. What are you waiting for?
As in his sublime TV pieces, Meades makes a great "host" here, towering over the how-to, welcome-to-my-spectacularly-humble-designer-kitchen-diner fakes that so often patrol this neck of the turkey with expensive cutlery in their precious paws. The fact that we always feel "in on the joke" is testament, yet again, to the sympathetic core, the genuine warmth that underlies the magnificent irony he brings to, well, everything. Proper literary feast, this. Extra helpings, please.
The book is a typical Meads production: clever, provocative, very opinionated and splenetic. He has the same opinion of television cooks as I do, humourless and repetitive. In fact, this is a thinly disguised anti cookbook. Meads has no time for healthy eating. He argues persuasively that there is no such thing as original cooking. It's all plagiarised. How right he is.
Some of his suggestions are superb, for example, dried orange peel in stock and bitter chocolate in stews.His recipe for hare is hilarious. He gives us his golden rules for cooking. Buy this and discover them.
A very entertaining book bulging with wit, his description of English sausages is a gem. Meads is an eccentric. I wish there were more like him.
PLEASE RETURN TO "THE TIMES", THEY REALLY NEED YOUR CRITIQUE AND HUMOUR.
CURRENT INCUMBENTS ARE NO WHERE NEAR YOU WRITING.
PHOTOGRAPHS ...... WELL I WILL IGNORE THEM.
I presume he is some tele / celeb person and that is the aspect of his book I don't like. His humour is so forced and obvious I was squirming on his behalf.
Would be an OK present for someone who was beginning to cook seriously but if you have a good collection already it won't add anything to it.So, OK- ish.
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