Sometime somewhere I read that if you like eating, you like reading about food.
Some of my favorite passages in my reading involved the planning, cooking and eating of fabulous dinners.
Small wonder that Jim Harrison, the author of A Really Big Lunch is one of my favorite writers.
Through Mr. Harrison I also read John Thorne’s wonderful essays on eating and cooking.
But it is the scenes in books not about cooking that talking about cooking that I look for.
CS Forester’s food scenes in his Hornblower Series or even the snatched meals on the bridge that Mr. Forester described in “The Good Shephard.”
The Whale Steak scene in Mr. Melville’s Moby Dick.
The King-eats-with-the-poor-people scene in Mr. Twain’s Connecticut Yankee.
The diner scene in Mr. Thurber’s A Couple of Hamburgers.
With this in mind I clicked on the article, Top 10 cooks in fiction.
The article was in a British Newspaper so I guess I should not be surprised that I wasn’t familiar with any of the books.
The description of the last book listed caught me eye.
The writer writes about the book, Cooking With Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson, that “The plot is fast-paced but daft, the characters ludicrous but hilarious, and the recipes imaginative but ridiculous.”
For me, any book that can be described with all those wonderful words in one sentence is worth a look-see.
I got my copy this morning out of archive.org so I will add an update soon.
I offer the first paragraph as a window.
If you will insist on arriving at Pisa airport in the summer you will probably have to fight your way out of the terminal building past incoming sun-reddened Brits, snappish with clinking luggage. They are twenty minutes late for their Ryanair cheapo return to Stansted (“I said carry your sister’s bloody bag, Crispin, not drag it. If we miss this flight your life won’t be worth living… “). Ignoring them and once safely outside, you can retrieve your car in leisurely fashion from the long-term park and hit the northbound motorway following the “Genova” signs. Within a mere twenty minutes you are off again at the Viareggio exit. Don’t panic: you are not destined for the beach which stretches its tottering crop of sun umbrel¬ las like poison-hued mushrooms for miles of unexciting coast¬ line. No. You are heading safely inland through the little town of Camaiore.
So promise I think.