The Chiltern Hills form a chalk escarpment in South East England. We were house-sitters in two locations here in Buckinghamshire during the summer of 2014. The first place we spent one week, had a short break, and then looked after the house for another two weeks. The property was in a relatively isolated location in the hills, above and not that far from the Thames River — a drive.
The house was large and modern with a solar heated swimming pool outside. The grounds were about two acres, a large garden and two horse paddocks bounded on one side by woods. Our task was to look after three dogs and three miniature ponies. The dogs Jack, Maggie and Henry (names changed to protect the innocent) could look after themselves during the day, but needed to be nurtured in the morning and at night.
Food writing 2: Articles I liked from Choice Cuts by Mark Kurlansky
Writing about food some fine writers and articles
In Food writing 1, I analysed Mark Kurlansky’s anthology Choice Cuts: A Savory Selection of Food Writing from Around the World and Throughout History, 2002. The book contains 234 articles, which covers the range of food writing from 500 BC to roughly the last thirty years. I said that I thought Kurlansky had done a good job of covering the breadth and depth of food writing. I then looked at the range of writers involved and gave a brief description of those who had four articles or more in the book.
My only qualms with Kurlansky’s range had to do with my wish to be entertained and informed through good writing. On these subjective criteria I chose 32 articles that I admired and another 40 I found of interest.
It is my task in this and the next article to give some descriptions and at least acknowledge articles in the book that I feel worthy of following up on. A somewhat daunting task I now realise.
Food Writing 1: Choice Cuts by Mark Kurlansky, a look at food writing across history
Writing about food an introductory excursion
I am a fan of Mark Kurlansky’s writing. I loved Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, 1997 and The Basque History of the World (1999). Although I found Salt: A World History, a bit hard going 2002. Those of you who have been following my What is History? series will not be surprised about my liking for Cod.
Without going deeper into Kurlansky’s biography two things emerge from his first two books above, particularly the second, which is his passion for and love of food.
I picked up Choice Cuts secondhand from Canty’s bookstore. It was one of those books that one feels one has to read. Although I admit it languished on my bookshelves for two years before I began to read it. I found it fascinating but rather hard going too. I suspect many people buy Choice Cuts and only dip into it casually. It is quite tome-like at 473 pages and easy to consider as a reference book, but unlike Larousse Gastronomique, which is a reference book, though a wonderful one, it is possible to read Choice Cuts the whole way through.