The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater – review
The much-loved cookery writer is back with a second volume of "kitchen diaries": a chronological record, based on scrapbooks and jottings, of a year's on-the-hoof cooking, replete with descriptions of shopping expeditions, ruminations on his vegetable patch, and paeans to his most trusted kitchen implements – his Japanese chef's knife, his ancient vegetable peeler. A congenital shunner of the limelight, Slater admits to being a reluctant TV performer (though his recent BBC1 series Simple Cooking was a big success), and here he gives the impression of being back in his element, doing what he likes best: mooching around the kitchen, trying out new things, and describing the experience in poetic, scrupulously measured prose. His recipes, though hardly lacking appeal in their own right, are helped along by his beguiling metaphors, composed, you suspect, with just the hint of an impish smile: boiled ham, on a chilling winter's day, "needs an accompaniment as comforting as a goose-down duvet" (he suggests artichoke and parsley sauce); crush juniper berries "too much and they will bite rather than merely bark". Once again in this volume, food and words coalesce perfectly: who wouldn't want to tuck in?
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