Lake Lucerne Photo: Davide Seddo/Getty

The nervous passenger who became one of our great travel writers

Sybille Bedford all her life was a keen and courageous traveller. Restless, curious, intellectually alert, she was always ready to…

Going ethnic

Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University, has been keenly interested in food for years. Besides being…


A waist of shame

Britain has the worst obesity rates in Europe, with one in four adults now clinically obese. A friend who works…


A History of English Food by Clarissa Dickson Wright

It is where cookery is involved that tele-vision gives perhaps the greatest succour to the book trade. After Jennifer Paterson’s…

Bookends: Not just for Christmas

Sticky at Christmas, packed in serried rows around a plastic twig in an oval-ended paper-wrapped box with a picture of a camel train; dates in childhood were exotic.


Vastly entertaining

It may not be quite true that the next best thing to eating good food is reading about it, but undeniably food writing has its considerable pleasures.

Bookends: The voice of the lobster

In existence for over 250 millions years, lobsters come in two distinct varieties, ‘clawed and clawless’. Human predators tend to the flawed and clueless as they overfish and — since lobsters must be cooked live — kill them heartlessly.


Bookends: The last laugh

In July, the world’s most famous restaurant, elBulli, closes, to reopen in 2014 as a ‘creative centre’. Rough luck on the million-odd people who try for one of 8,000 reservations a year. It’s also a blow for the eponymous young cooks of Lisa Abend’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentices (Simon & Schuster, £18.99), the 45 stagiaires who labour in Ferran Adria’s kitchen for a season in the hope of sharing in the magic. Ferran, you see, is no mere cook. With him, ‘hot turns into cold, sweet into savoury, solid into liquid or air’.

A war of nutrition

The long summer that led up to the last days of peace in Europe in 1939 — the vigil of the Nazi assault on Poland on 1 September and the ensuing Phoney War — gave little hint of the storm to come.


Wonders of the world’s fare

Apart from knowing your onions, you should be widely travelled, and preferably artistic, to cut the mustard these days, Fay Maschler suspects


Brutal and brutalising

In this book, Jonathan Safran Foer, the American novelist, tries to make us think about eating meat.