Top critical review
Damning with faint praise
on 19 December 2017
At first 'A Change of Appetite' seems more accessible than 'Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons'. The chapter headings are simple enough: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. But, as other reviewers have noted, the structure within each chapter is incomprehensible.
For example 'Autumn' begins on page 162 with a list of seasonal produce. Next is a lentil and egg dish, then soups, salads, a discussion about and list of lunch recipes, a menu complete with dessert.
THEN back to Autumnal salads, hot vegetarian dishes, another menu with dessert, fish and seafood recipes, chicken and duck dishes, a discussion about and list of wholegrains, another menu, several desserts, a cake and two breads, and FINALLY on pages 238-245 ... breakfasts. WTF?
I already have a reasonably well stocked 'larder' of Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern/ South Asian ingredients. Even so many recipes would require a trip to the smarter supermarkets/ pricey delicatessans.
Microleaves feature heavily as does sugar (so much SUGAR), fresh rose petals and other edible flowera, a dizzying array of fresh herbs, especially dill (so much DILL) and even oregano. Not even M&S sells fresh oregano!
Extra virgin olive and coconut oils are a given, but why two neutral flavoured/ high smoke point fats (peanut, sunflower)? Henry notes (mid-Winter page 284-285) that omega-3/9 rich rapeseed and hazelnut oils are healthier than omega-6 rich sunflower and peanut oils, but fails to apply the theory.
And although many dishes include the promised wholegrains, wheat products are overused. Do we really need couscous, bulgar, farro, spelt, freekeh, kamut AND bread flour?
'A Change of Appetite' is less pretentious than 'Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons', but that isn't much of a recommendation, is it?