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Sunday, November 19, 2017

FOOD BOOK REVIEW -- THE PLAGIARIST IN THE KITCHEN (Unbound, 2017, 176 pages, $42.95 CAD) is by the redoubtable Jonathan Meades.

THE PLAGIARIST IN THE KITCHEN (Unbound, 2017, 176 pages, ISBN 9781783522408, $42.95 CAD hardbound) is by the redoubtable Jonathan Meades, the UK journalist, TV personality, and filmmaker who also specializes in food. He says that this book will be the only cookbook he will ever write. Meanwhile, as this book does exist, it is his take in praise of the unoriginal recipe. Very very entertaining and provocative. It was funded by readers through the writer website "Unbound". You pledge for it in advance, and it gets published once it receives critical mass. This particular title was distributed in Canada by Penguin Random House. He says it "is an anti-cookbook, a recipe book that is also an explicit paean to the avoidance of culinary originality, to the daylight robbery of recipes, to hijacking techniques and methods, to the notion that in the kitchen there is nothing new and nor can there be anything new. It's all theft." So: ultimately, it is a basic book of workable standard classic recipes with his pithy and enlightening comments. Because it is British, it is all in metric, with no tables of equivalents or conversion charts. There is a an index, plus four pages of three columns each which feature the names of contributors/subscribers. There is a short bibliography of "books referred to" and presumably borrowed from. Most of the books are old, and most of the authors have since passed on. So there. The book could have been improved if it also used US volume measurements in the recipes; this would improve sales in the last remaining country on the planet to ignore metric. Quality/price rating: 88.


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