At the end of this month, Nigel Slater's Eat will be published (in the U.S., anyway.
I think it came out in fall of last year in the UK).
I'm a fan of most Slateriana, so when the book arrived this
week, I dove right in. Instead of the usual Slater ramblings
in lush prose, I found a trim little volume chock full of 5- or
First of all, I was charmed by
the format. And I like books that encourage you to believe
inspiration - lots of it - is right around the corner, even in the
most apparently boring fridge.
But the second thing that occurred to me was that this
book, the "easy" book, was a familiar friend and almost its own
genre. The easy book is never an author's first book.
Often the first is an ambitious book, filled with memoir-y
anecdotes and an eclectic range of recipes, to introduce the author
to the public. Then there's a book about a specific technique
or ingredient or region the author loves. And then, after a
while, you get the easy book. (For restaurant
chefs, it goes restaurant book - at-home book - cooking with kids
or for a crowd.)
It didn't actually work that way
for Slater. But if you look around, you'll notice that most
well-known chefs have an Easy or a Fast book on their list.
Express. There's Mario Batali's , Molto Italiano (Actually there are three
Molto books, all "simple" or "easy".) Jacques Pépin, Sara
Moulton, Jamie Oliver, Melissa Clark - all cooks of varying renown.
But each one's gotten their Easy on at one point or
I always love these books, but for some reason they don't
end up on the downstairs use-it-all-the-time shelf. I don't
know why - goodness knows I could use a bit more Easy in my life.
But it always seems like the books that end up getting loved to
bits in my kitchen are the highly focused or long-labored-over,
Trust Me, I'm Authoritative books.
How about you? Are there any Quick, Fast, Easy, or Simple
books you just can't do without?