We all have our favourites but these are The Guardian’s official Top 10 and more….
‘Putting together the picks of the decade in food and drink books has been rather a painful process, not least due to the number of outstanding volumes published in the last gasp of the old century. The trickiest example was Fergus Henderson’s Nose to Tail Eating, which was first published in 1999, so in a nearly-cheating move, we allowed our contributors to pick it in its later various guises, all referring back to the influence of the original. Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook and Gary Rhodes’ New British Classics, a book on British cooking that many feel hasn’t been rivalled since, also first saw the light of day in 1999.’ See more below….
It was also in the same year that the Naked Chef was published, the first title released by the then fresh-faced Jamie Oliver who has since become something of an icon and dominated the bestselling food and drink books list ever since. It’s an oft-noted fact that sales of celebrity chef cookbooks and autobiographies have taken off as the publishing industry has slumped, as both slot neatly into the ‘book as gift’ phenomenon. We have included a few notable examples in the list as they have had undeniable influence, but for the most part we’ve averted our gaze from the bestsellers and focused more on the books that our contributors – a well read and thoughtful bunch of food lovers – have cherished, and we hope you’ll find some titles you were unaware of.
We’ve ummed and aahhed, mulled and moaned, and in the end compiled the list of the top 40 you see here. Interestingly, every single one of our panel plumped for McGee as a pick of the noughties (and many for Michael Pollan’s In Defence of Food) until I asked them to stop in the interests of variety (and even then, they persisted!). We had an interesting nomination that I think is worthy of mention, David Foster Wallace’s essay Consider the Lobster, written originally for the now defunct Gourmet magazine, which, argued the contributor, “set the bar for food writing for a generation”. If you haven’t already read it, do.
But back to the books. Of course, no list is definitive so you will, of course, let us know what you think we got wrong, but hopefully there will be some titles here that you might be inspired to seek out or that move you to add your voice to the chorus of praise. Our top 10 are those that were most consistently nominated by our panel, the next five were picked by more than one person and the rest were the choice of a single panel member. We also asked you to contribute thoughts, via the blog and Twitter, and we’ve weaved some of these in too.
Finally, our panel, in no particular order, includes: the award-winning food writer and cook Fuchsia Dunlop, Rosie Boycott, the former newspaper editor who now advises London’s mayor on matters of food, columnist and author Tom Parker Bowles, Jay Rayner, Allegra McEvedy, Matthew Fort, Alex Renton, Joanna Blythman, Richard Ehrlich, and Tim Hayward who need no introduction here. We’re also very grateful to restaurant critic Marina O’Laughlin, Tom Jaine of Prospect books, Bob Granleese, editor of Weekend magazine’s food section, and Will Skidelsky, the Observer’s books editor and author for their invaluable contributions.
The past decade has produced some real gems, and that lot are likely to have read most of them, so here are the books we think no serious food lover should have missed in the last 10 years.
The top 10
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture by Harold McGee (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004, £30)
A greatly explanded edition of his earlier On Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Fuchsia Dunlop picked On Food and Cooking out as “one of the essential books in any cook’s library. Useful as a reference book, and fascinating to dip into.” Tom Jaine points out that “though molecular gastronomy may never have much impact on home cooking, this book has permanently affected how we look at food and cookery,” and Richard Ehrlich says the book “secures McGee’s position as one of the pre-eminent writers on food. It helps to have some scientific knowledge, but even without that On Food and Cooking illuminates and stimulates on every single page. A great book, and not just for reference but for casual or sustained reading.” Matthew Fort has it that it is “science as it should be written – practical, clear, elegantly presented, with an astounding range of non-scientific reference.” Bob Granleese agreed it explains in full “what really happens when you apply heat (or cold) to food. All the answers are in here.”
Beyond Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking: Part II, by Fergus Henderson and Justin Piers Gellatly (Bloomsbury, 2007, £17.99)
Bob Granleese, like many others, chose Part II “because Part I, which is even better, came out in 1999, so doesn’t count for this round-up. Most influential British cook of his generation. Nuff said.” Several other panel members tried to shoehorn a reference to Henderson’s first book in too, such as Will Skidelsky: “It feels like a cookbook of the last decade, so great has its influence been during that time. Henderson’s superb and charmingly written recipes made the whole idea of British cooking exciting again.”
Fuchsia Dunlop loved Henderson’s “precise, minimalist and witty writing, and I love his recipes. More than that, he’s the man who led the revival of British cooking, and for that I am very thankful. For years I was embarrassed talking to Chinese friends about contemporary British food – now there’s so much to be proud about, and he planted the seed from which it all grew.” Alex Renton plumped for The Whole Beast (Ecco, 2004) “Henderson of St John is the foremost apostle of noses, trotters and every lump and gland in between. A carnivore’s bible, a call to arms against the food waste culture.” Tom Jaine agreed it was “the best chef’s cookbook of recent years. He brings a new meaning to the word laconic and his choice of words is as accurate as his spicing. And the food is mostly British which is a true relief.” Nose to Tail eating, thinks Tim Hayward, “is a beautiful book which, quite aside from its vast influence on British cooking, speaks in the same endearingly queer cadences of its brilliant author. It makes me smile whenever I read it.”
Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain (Bloomsbury, 2000, £8.99 in paperback)
This was a favourite with the restaurant critics on our panel. “Rarely has a single book been seized upon by a profession as the true gospel in such a manner. Kitchen Confidential, with its shameless, no-bodily-fluid-spared approach to the slippery business of kitchen life, managed exactly that,” said Jay Rayner, while Marina O’Laughlin wrote: “Like a bodice-ripper heroine, I don’t know whether I love ‘Tony’ or want to smack him in the chops. Especially since this snake-blood drinking, pig-killing memoir [A Cook’s Tour] launched a whole host of inferior, extreme-eating imitators. Drenched in testosterone, it may be, but it was the original and the best.” For Fuchsia Dunlop, “this exposé of life in the ‘culinary underbelly’ of the restaurant industry is gruesome and hilarious.”
Alex Renton was amazed “to think this sweltering account of life and death beyond the swing doors is only 9 years old – Bourdain put the rock (and the speed and the coke and the smack) into chefs’ memoirs, and started a legend of knife-fighting, hard-drinking, Ramones-loving psycho-cooks that Gordon, Marco and co continue feebly to exploit. Brand me with a red-hot skillet, I still love this book.”
“Reading Kitchen Confidential for the first time was an unalloyed joy,” says Tim Hayward. “Bourdain spoke honestly about the kind of kitchens I’d grown up in – the visceral thrill, the camaraderie, the sheer rock and roll excitement, the fire and the knives. Nothing could have been further from the Elizabeth David books I was stuck with at the time and nothing could have been more appropriate. For me, Bourdain rescued food from the writing of women’s magazines and made it muscular, tattooed and ripped to the gills on cheap speed.”
In Defence of Food, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (Penguin, 2009, £9.99 (new paperback edition) and Bloomsbury, 2006, £7.99 respectively)
Another hugely popular author who was picked several times for both titles. Rosie Boycott proclaims that “Pollan is the best writer about food in the world! In this book [The Omnivore’s Dilemma] he follows how various foodstuffs have come to dominate what we eat. Anything by him is worth reading.”
For Joanna Blythman, “the urbane US writer tackles contemporary nutritional orthodoxy like a hot knife slicing through butter. Although apparently rooted in a scientific approach, he says it is just ideology, sometimes well-intentioned, but often driven by a hunger for corporate profit. ’30 years of nutritional advice have left us fatter, sicker, and more poorly nourished,’ he concludes. How true.”
Alex Renton has it that “putting together all our fears and worries about the modern food system in one immensely readable narrative, Pollan is the James Lovelock of the better food movement.”
Fuchsia Dunlop adds: “In a world full of faddish diets and cleverly-marketed junk comestibles, Michael Pollan’s is a voice of reason. The solution to the dietary ills of the modern western world, he argues persuasively, is simple: forget about ‘nutrition’ and just eat real food, not too much, and mostly plants. It all makes sense.” Richard Ehrlich points out that “Pollan emerged in the ’00s as one of the most thoughtful and original commentators on the modern food world, from farm to feedlot to dinner table. This [In Defence of Food] is my favourite of his books, a bracing jeremiad against what’s bad (industrial food, inane nutritional ideas, dumb-ass politicians and journalists) and a plea for sensibly hedonistic eating.”
The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004, £30)
Jay Rayner echoed a number of online voices with this choice: “Quite simply the most comprehensive and therefore influential volume on the business of cooking animals so far published. I know any number of chefs who swear by this title.” For Tom Parker Bowles, the book is “a mighty, comprehensive tome, but hardly a word is wasted and the perfect introduction to every form of British meat. Barely a week passes without me hauling it down from the shelf, and I use it as much for reference as I do for recipe inspiration.”
Will Skidelsky points out that “Fearnley-Whittingstall has been at the forefront of the meat renaissance of the last decade; this encyclopedic volume is his grand statement on the subject.” For Tim Hayward this book “was the point for me where Fearnley-Whittingstall stopped being a hairy, posh TV eccentric and damn near attained sainthood. He was always a good writer but the passion and knowledge in Meat really shine through. It deserves its ‘bible’ status. Even today, it’s rare I’ll tackle a new cut or type of joint without thumbing through Hugh.”
Thai Food by David Thompson (Pavillion, 2002, £25)
Bob Granleese opted for this slightly lesser known collection: “One of the world’s great cuisines finally gets the epic treatment usually reserved for classic western food cultures. Terrifyingly well informed, unashamedly authentic; shame it didn’t sell.”
Tom Parker Bowles called it “the greatest book on Thai cookery in the English language. Filled with history, anecdote and an astonishing range of recipes, this is the cook book at its very finest.”
Matthew Fort (and some of our readers) also loved it: “this changed the rules of engagement for the ethnic cookery book: more encyclopaedic, more genuine, harder work. Brilliant.”
Sichuan Cookery by Fuchsia Dunlop (Penguin, 2003, £14.99)
Tom Parker Bowles picked Sichuan Cookery because “Dunlop mixes scholarship with elegant prose and real experience of the Sichuan kitchen and in doing so created the seminal English language tome on this vibrant regional Chinese cusine.”
For Marina O’Laughlin it is “not simply a recipe book, but a real adventure round a cuisine and region that, at the time of publication, was as untravelled as the moon. Who in 2001 had heard of ma-la, or fish-fragranced food? Ms Dunlop’s writing involves and enthuses – and makes you really, really hungry.” Will Skidelsky thought the book “opened a window onto a totally different style of Chinese cooking from what one gets in most British Chinese restaurants (although, thanks in part to its influence, that is now changing). The spicy, lip-tingling recipes are easier than they look, and are all delicious.” There were also votes for her second title, the Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook.
The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen by Nigel Slater (Fourth Estate, 2007, £16.99 in paperback)
Matthew Fort described Slater’s book as: “My friend in the kitchen. The book I wish I had written. Except that I don’t have Nigel Slater’s industry, ingenuity or warm, affectionate, kindly way with words. No wonder the man’s a national treasure.”
For Joanna Blythman, it was “the first mainstream cookbook to make seasonal eating look delicious and credible. Ever since I got it, 95% of my cookbooks have become redundant”. Slater’s Kitchen Diaries, Toast, and Appetite were probably the books most mentioned by online readers.
The Moro Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark (Ebury, 2003, £17.50)
Jay Rayner admitted that: “like thousands of others I own this rather lovely book but … I’ve never cooked from it. No particular reason. It just never offered what I wanted at any particular moment. However, so many of my friends have cooked from it for me at dinner parties, that the influence of its clever riffs on Iberian and Moorish cuisine cannot be denied.”
Tom Parker Bowles has it that this book “wafted onto an adoring public upon a cloud of woodsmoke and good paprika, moving away from familiar tapas and paella and instead exploring the Moorish influence on Spanish food. The restaurant is still as good as ever, and my copy of the book battered from constant use.”
Will Skidelsky says: “the Clarks’ no-nonsense approach to Spanish and north African cooking translated wonderfully well into the domestic kitchen, making this one of the must-have cookbooks of the last 10 years.”
The Big Fat Duck Cook Book by Heston Blumenthal (Bloomsbury, 2008, £125)
Matthew Fort recognised that “of course, none but the most bonkers will attempt the recipes, but as an all-singing, all-dancing, once-and-for-all history of one of the most extraordinary restaurants ever, this is a monster, and worth every penny.”
Jay Rayner felt similarly: “It’s gargantuan, unwieldy and the recipes are all but uncookable. None of that is important. It stands as a wonderful document of the work of a chef who is about as important as anybody in his profession can ever be.”
We received other nominations for this, and its smaller, cheaper incarnation The Fat Duck Cookbook online.
So that’s the top 10. The next five were independently nominated by more than one of the panel.
British Regional Food: In Search of the Best British Food Today by Mark Hix (Quadrille, 2008, £14.99)
Matthew Fort opted for Hix’s book because “few people have done more to raise the profile and appreciation of our native foods than Mark Hix. He writes with unobtrusive balance and clarity that lets the subjects speak for themselves. And the recipes aren’t bad, either.”
Tom Parker Bowles described it as “the comprehensive guide to British food from one of the godfathers of modern British cooking. Well-written and stuffed full with decent recipes and fascinating tales, this is an instant classic.”
The Taste of Britain by Laura Mason and Catherine Brown (HarperCollins, 2006, £25)
Allegra McEvedy says: “With the revival in the belief that Britain had a culinary history worth shouting about, this is a book that quite simply had to be written. But where it could have fallen foul of being a dull encyclopedia, its regional entries are kept short and to the point, with no space given to waffle. The illustrations suit perfectly, and I never leave London now without chucking it into the back of the car (along with the good pub guide) to make sure I eat exactly what I need to as I traverse this great country of ours.”
Matthew Fort chose this book too: “A buffed and polished, reordered and re-edited version of Traditional Foods of Britain originally published by the irrepressible Prospect Books. A magnificent and absolutely essential reference tome for anyone remotely interested in British food. Drole and drily witty, too.”
Shopped: the shocking power of Britain’s supermarkets by Joanna Blythman (Harper Perennial, 2005, £7.99 in paperback)
Bob Granleese described Joanna Blythman’s The Food We Eat, reprinted by Penguin on the first day of the decade, as a “wonderfully irate and persuasive polemic on Britain’s so-called food culture” while Alex Renton chose Shopped for being “gripping and shocking. Amazing we still haven’t got [the supermarkets] under control.”
European Festival Food and Classic Spanish Cooking by Elisabeth Luard (Grub Street, 2009, £20 and MQ Publications, 2006, £14.99 respectively)
Richard Ehrlich says: “Once upon a time in the noughties, loads of publishing houses let the best books on their cookery lists go out of print. Grub Street, a small independent publisher, grabbed the rights to (among others) E David, J Grigson, C Roden, and Elisabeth Luard. The bone-headed publishers did us all a favour: Grub Street’s editions are lovely. Ms Luard is a great cookery writer and this book, originally published in 1990, is one of her best.” Matthew Fort and Catherine Phipps both recently recommended this as a book of the year too.
Allegra McEvedy opted for Luard’s Classic Spanish Cooking: “I find this cute little volume very attractive physically – not in a flash way, but it’s a sturdy hold, and beautifully illustrated in watercolours by this most-respected author. The chapters are divided sensibly, so though it is regional the divisions are chicken to eggs to tapas to beans and so on. Recipe-wise it’s an intriguing stretch from great versions of the standards (tortilla Catalan; clams in sherry) to those a bit more special (potatoes with almonds and saffron; goose with turnips and pears), all with interesting notes from Luard, and all in all, it’s the authenticity that sings out from the pages that makes this a fave of mine.”
Not on the Label by Felicity Lawrence (Penguin, 2004, £8.99)
Rosie Boycott said “this book lifted the lid on the dubious ways in which our food gets to our tables. The stories make for grim reading, but Lawrence is a brilliant writer and investigator and she handles the complex material effortlessly.” Alex Renton says this book lifts the lid on “what really goes into the food on your plate – brave, fascinating, diet-altering investigations from a great journalist.”
Lastly, we have some titles given very honourable mentions by single members of the panel.
Made In Italy, Giorgio Locatelli (Fourth Estate, 2008, £22.50)
Jay Rayner: “Yes, the book is beautiful to look at, and the recipes detailed and enticing. But what really separated this volume out was the prose. With the help of his ghost writer, Sheila Keating, Giorgio proved himself to be a wonderful story teller.”
Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros (Murdoch Books, 2009, £17.99)
Allegra McEvedy: “This is a beauty of a book with stunning photography – the antidote to all those samey celebrity chef potboilers that seem to dominate the bookshops. One woman’s culinary heritage, unapologetic in its diversity from Cyprus to Finland to South Africa via a couple of other countires that have influenced her. Told from the heart, with recipes that feel and look so special … because they are to her – thanks for sharing, Tessa.”
The Return of the Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver (first published Michael Joseph, 2000, new Penguin edition due January 2010, £15.99)
Fuchsia Dunlop: “I gave this book to several male friends who were inspired by it to make their first culinary experiments, and I’ve chosen it in tribute to Jamie’s work over the last decade. He could simply have sat back and enjoyed his wealth and fame – instead he’s worked like a maniac to try to improve the way people eat.”
The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson (revised 2006 edition edited by Tom Jaine, OUP, £40)
Bob Granleese: “The book that has (almost) everything. Every home should have one. Who needs Larousse?”
How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus, 2003, £17.99)
Marina O’Laughlin: “Even I bought briefly into the gushing, breathy gorgeousness that is Nigella. Somewhere at the bottom of a kitchen drawer are cupcake cases and Cath Kidston pinny. Responsible for a rash of smug yummy mummies whose raison d’etre was the new domestic perfection. Now I can’t bear the book and all it stands for, but undeniably hugely influential.”
Trifle by Helen Sabiri and Alan Davidson (Prospect, 2009, £9.99)
Matthew Fort: “Someone once said that the enduring fascination of the trifle lies in that fact that it is all the best British puddings rolled into one. This tells you how and why with wit and learning masking cheery greed. Actually a reprint, but re-issued this year.”
Fork to Fork by Monty and Sarah Don (Conran Octopus Ltd, 2009, £25)
Rosie Boycott: “Monty and Sarah Don’s cook book / growing guide is a wonderful treat. Monty understands the importance and wonder of growing your own and Sarah understands how good it is to eat food straight from your garden.”
The Man Who Ate the World by Jay Rayer (Headline Review, 2009, £8.99)
Tim Hayward: “Jay Rayner’s Man Who Ate the World is one of the quirkiest and bravest bits of food writing of the decade. It’s easy to boff on about foams and airs but Rayner asks uncomfortable questions about why and how we engage with the huge industry of high-end dining. Thinking more as a writer than a critic, he digs into his own motivations and forces us to do the same. I can’t think of anyone else who’s addressed this and it’s something we really ought to be thinking about as we go into the next decade.”
Essence by David Everitt-Matthias (Absolute, 2006, £25)
Jay Rayner: Everitt-Matthias is the quiet superstar, a chef with a unique gutsy palatte and approach to food, which is realised through immense technique at his Michelin 2 star restaurant Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham. This book documents those recipes in a clear, clean and approachable manner. A gem.
50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi (Kyle Cathie, 2004, £9.99)
Marina O’Laughlin: “The most dog-eared, stained and generally abused cookbook in my kitchen. Every one of the 50 curries is a fragrant joy and the no-nonsense Ms Panjabi is responsible for not only demystifying their creation, but also presenting them to the world in her terrific restaurants.”
Riverford Farm Cook Book by Guy Watson and Jane Baxter (Fourth Estate, 2008, £16.99)
Joanna Blythman: “I’m a fan of this veteran Devon-based organic veggie box outfit, and especially Jane Baxter’s cooking. Organised by fruit or vegetable ingredient, it has the appeal of Jane Grigson’s perennially useful Fruit Book and Vegetable Book, all rolled into one but updated for the climate-challenged, more environmentally-aware 21st century.”
The Book of Eels by Tom Fort (HarperCollins, 2003, £7.99)
Tim Hayward: “An example of how following something simple to the point of obsession can make a rivetting read. Absolutely fascinating and a must read for the completist food geek.”
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (new edition, Scholastic Educational, 2009, £4.10)
Rosie Boycott: “This is a clasic of investigative reporting. Schlosser burrows deep into the heart of MacDonald’s and reveals the multinational’s secrets”
Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen (Kyle Cathie, 2009, £30)
Joanna Blythman: “Chatelaine of the impeccable Ballymaloe Cookery School, Darina reacquaints us with time-honoured cooking skills that might otherwise be lost: making your own buttermilk, smoking meat and fish in an old biscuit tin, curing ham. An inspiring and empowering book that helps keep traditional food culture and knowledge alive and kicking.”
Culinary Pleaures by Nicola Humble (Faber & Faber, 2006, £9.99)
Will Skidelsky: “A history of Britain’s culinary development as told through its cookbooks, this scholarly volume offers a feast of diverting information.”
Neris and India’s Idiot-Proof Diet Cookbook by Bee Rawlinson, India Knight and Neris Thomas (Penguin, 2009, £7.99)
Marina O’Laughlin: “Well, eating out for a living does take its toll. And these two are gals who love both food and looking good and have found a way of having their cake and eating it. They took Atkins and made it sane. Plus they’re very relaxed about booze intake.”
It must Have Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten (Headline Review, 2003, £6.99)
Tim Hayward: “By 2000 Jeffrey Steingarten was already established as a food writer on American Vogue. I most certainly was not. To realise that one could write intelligently and amusingly about food without recycling recipes or obsessing about celebrity chefs was an epiphany for me. He’s witty, erudite, waspish and as you’d expect from an ex-lawyer, forensically accurate. Without Steingarten I’d be writing about deodorant in an ad agency.”
The Pedant In The Kitchen by Julian Barnes (Atlantic, 2004, £9.99)
Joanna Blythman: “I love to giggle at Barnes’ witty road testing of cookbook authors. Self-mockingly literal, his pedantic unpicking of recipes – “How big exactly, is a lump?” – has me in stitches. It reminds me of quite a few male cooks I know.”
End of the Line by Charles Clover (Ebury, 2005, £7.99)
Matthew Fort: “One of my favourite ‘end of the world’ books, which brought home to us the real peril of overfishing and underlined that our resources are finite.”
A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider (Artisan Division of Workman Publishing, 2003, £18.99)
Richard Ehrlich: “This is the intelligent person’s guide to healthy cooking. The New York based Schneider has rethought the culinary use of fats, sugar etc from the ground up, and this vast book is all about how to go on using them but using a bit less by deploying techniques that maximise their impact. One of the few truly original cookbooks of the last decade; I wish it had made more of a splash on this side of the pond.”
Culinary Pleasures by Dr Nicola Humble (Faber & Faber, 2006, £9.99)
Tim Hayward: “An immensely readable history of the cookery book which puts our obsession with the outpourings of Jamie, Gordo and Nigella firmly into perspective.”
Food in Early Modern England by Joan Thirsk (Hambledon Continuum, 2007, £50)
Tom Jaine: “The beauty of Joan Thirsk’s book is that she emphasises change at a time when we all dream that everything is stable. Cavaliers and roundheads had fads and fashions too. Illuminating.”
Essential Winetasting by Michael Schuster (Mitchell Beazley, 2009, £16.99)
Richard Ehrlich: “Several books provide a guided tour of this subject, but I think Schuster’s is easily the best. He earns his living as a wine educator, and he is a precise, focused, and oenologically erudite teacher. And the book is beautifully designed and illustrated. If you know someone who has recently become interested in wine (or if you fit that description yourself), this is the first book to buy.”
Salt – A World History by Mark Kurlanky (Vintage, 2003, £9.99)
Tim Hayward: “The most impressive of an entire genre of books that looked at social and political history through a single foodstuff. Kurlansky combined scholarship with a terrifically accessible style. Salt is so interesting. Who knew?”
The Road to Vindaloo: Curry Cooks and Curry Books by David Burnett and Helen Saberi (Prospect, 2008, £9.99)
Richard Ehrlich: “Part of the consistently diverting and informative ‘English Kitchen’ series from Prospect Books, the distinguished publisher of scholarly food books. This one gives the deep background on Britain’s love of Indian cooking, with historical (but usable recipes) from the 18th century onwards.”