View Full Version : Nigel Slater- The Kitchen Diaries

The Norks
19-11-2005, 22:45:03
I know this isn't the usual kind of book people post about here since it's primarily about cookery, but I have really enjoyed reading this. I've been a fan of Nigel Slater for a few years now as he's thoughtful, passionate, un-Ramsayfied and unpretentious, like a mellower, more mature Oliver. He cooks food that I can't help but think of as 'man's food'. Its simple in its construction, usually from easily obtained ingredients, hearty, yet also original, flavourful and moreish.

The book is gorgeously packaged, with a tactile cloth bound spine, smooth cover boards and rustic feeling cream coloured paper. It has one of those little ribbon bookmarks you get in books of fairy stories or encyclopaedias which makes it feel important somehow, and some beautiful photography- brooding, intense and bruised, almost appetisingly forensic as opposed to the more light infused, clean, sparkly white-plated dishes you see in most cookery books.

The thing that really sets this book apart though, is that it's a seasonal diary, and the recipes are jotted down as part of the description of a meal-as-event. So Nigel describes hot summer days cooking with his family in the garden for instance, and he describes why he chose the food for that meal and how it reflects the mood and enhances it.

This vista into his daily life is compelling- The way he talks about his food would make an anorexic salivate. You almost feel like a voyeur intruding on his private dirty culinary pleasures. And most of all you want to eat EVERYTHING he writes about, he describes it in such lifelike, salty, buttery, dripping detail (I imagine Nigella would be more like this if she got a bit tipsy and weren't so very upper-middle class).

As a reading experience it's fantastic, you can smell the food wafting from the page and you can vicariously enjoy Nigel's gourmand lifestyle. As a cookbook it's an easy to follow reference to seasonal recipes that will build cooking confidence and impress your guests or just give you something delightful and snackish to eat alone. I thoroughly recommend it.

Just one bizarre thing I noticed- the man is obsessed with lemons and salt!!

Lazarus and the Gimp
20-11-2005, 08:36:17
Is this the same bloke who was in "The Young Ones"?

The Norks
20-11-2005, 12:46:04
yes, and all the recipes are based on lentils :)

21-11-2005, 00:40:34
Sounds a great book to be honest and I must say that I have been looking for another good cookery book for some time now. Most of the releases just seem to be from these "trendy" celebrity chefs looking to make an extra income along side their TV shows.

It's almost like you can imagine people who would never entertain doing any real cooking having a collection of cookery books comprising of Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey, Delia Smith, Rick Stein & Gary Rhodes' various publications.

I must say, one other cookery book that seems to have promise is Tamsin's Kitchen Bible by Tamsin Day-Lewis. Have you dabbled with this at all?

21-11-2005, 10:06:35
He writes for the Observer I think... always has a couple of recipes in the magazine.

I've seen some other good reviews of this book. Like this one which also mentions his salt obsession!


21-11-2005, 10:18:02
My mum got this book for her birthday yesterday. ;)

She cuts out and keeps most of his recipies from the Observer too.