Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary

Nigel Slater, Author
Nigel Slater, photos by Jonathan Lovekin. Ten Speed, , $40 ISBN 978-1-60774-543-3
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Take a peek into the kitchen scribblings of prolific British food memoirist and BBC cook Nigel Slater (Toast, and others) in his latest collection of monthly musings about his kitchen and gardens. The book contains 250 recipes and a new set of kitchen diaries—journals and “jottings” collected over years of culinary reflection and cooking. With ingredients arranged by month and season, the book provides a glimpse into what’s behind the joy of simple food. In January, post-mistletoe and champagne hoopla, Slater turns to inventive breads-and-soup pairings, like cider loaf and bacon with a celery root soup; March offers a stir-fry of greens and mushrooms; May arrives with a warm tart of crab and tarragon in creamy Dijon sauce; and autumn months feature leeks, roast pork, pumpkins, and recipes for the onslaught of zucchinis. Each month includes fruit-filled puddings and pies. Slater intersperses recipes with odes to herbs and garlic, descriptions of favorite kitchen tools, and entries relating his admiration for kitchen tables. Musings on his obsession with lemon and a poetical veneration of mashed potatoes will induce cravings in any reader. Recipes contain “less-than-precise” instruction, are informal in tone, and easy to execute. Slater’s philosophy of whatever works to “end up with something good to eat... regardless of how cooks get there” makes this book of monthly kitchen ritual, cooking, and storytelling both a personal celebration of the author’s craft and a delicious read. (Sept.)
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