There are some cookery books that I definitely class as bedside books. Some are just a plain old list of recipes, and that’s fine, I like those ones as well, but others tell amazing stories and warrant bedside-table space along with the handcream and glass of wine (everyone does that, right?).
Take Sophie Dahl’s beautiful Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights. It’s one of my favourite books – I thinkSophie Dahl writes amazingly well, and her gorgeous prose interlinked with anecdotes, rememberings from her childhood and other snippets enhance the lovely recipes and really make the book what it is, a classic to be treasured.
Allegra McEvedy’s new book, ‘Bought, Borrowed & Stolen. Recipes & Knives from a Travelling Chef’ is definitely a bedside book. Part recipe book, part travel tome, it’s a wonderful mixture. McEvedy has travelled extensively and started to pick up knives here and there on her travels. Along the way, she lists the knives she purchased in different places, then goes on to give local recipes in a friendly, matey way that I absolutely love. She starts one Mexican recipe with ‘My Spanish is crap’. I love that.
In my usual, destructive way I’ve turned down loads of pages to mark recipes that I really, really want to cook. They are miriad: Clafoutis aux Abricots, Szechuan Crispy Pork Ribs and Caldo Verde, temptingly subtitled: ‘A Soup of Greens, Spuds and a bit of Pig’. What’s not to love about that?
If you count a food lover amongst your nearest and dearest, especially one who loves to travel, lovingly wrap this book for them for Christmas. Like me, they will absolutely adore it.
Bought, Borrowed & Stolen is available now, published by Octopus. Click below to take you straight to Amazon.