Let’s Eat, by Tom Parker-Bowles, reviewed by my friend Veronica.
I was looking forward to reading this book as I’ve long enjoyed Tom Parker-Bowles’ food writing in various publications over the years. Like many cookery books, it sells a lifestyle as well as recipes, and this didn’t disappoint; the anecdotal style made it an easy and entertaining read straight through.
However, on to the recipes, which are split up into five broad categories: Comfort food (which spanned British and French classics, a whole subsection on eggs, and puddings,), Quick fixes (not quick enough for me, I’m afraid – crab cakes, for example, would be way too fiddly to make when I’m tired at the end of the day and just want something easy, but admittedly my bar is quite low here….).This chapter also includes a section on Tom’s favourite cocktails; Slow and Low (which I think is self-explanatory, but yes, basically stuff you cook for ages on a low heat), From Far-Flung Shores – recipes inspired by Tom’s travels in Asia and South America. And finally, Cooking for Children, which the author admits is heavily influenced by Annabel Karmel and mainly involves recipes which you can blend to a puree for babies, but which are also suitable for older children.
The two recipes I tried – Beef Stroganoff and Porcini Risotto were absolutely delicious. In his introduction, the author says that “All the dishes in this book are within easy reach of anyone who can turn on an oven and grasp a knife” which is probably true, but many of them are certainly not the easiest versions of particular dishes you’ll find – the trifle, for example, requires you to make your own sponge as well as your own custard from scratch, which is a bridge too far for me. Tom definitely doesn’t believe in shortcuts
I really wanted to try the some of the Thai and noodle recipes, which looked extremely beguiling, but we have a long term house guest and most of those recipes are for two people (however large one’s wok, I feel you really cannot cook for more than two otherwise it gets overfull and doesn’t stir-fry properly). Some of the spices can only be sourced online or from speciality shops which is a bit annoying if you want to make something at short notice and only have a Tesco to hand. However, I will definitely be trying them once we’re only cooking for two again.
I was very keen to review this book, having got into a bit of a cooking rut, making the same ten or so dishes over and over again and getting quite bored with myself. And while it’s been fun, I don’t think this is going to be the book to get me out of that rut. It’s a great read, but I honestly think it’s for a slightly more serious cook than me.
Fuss Free Rating
Let’s Eat by Tom Parker-Bowles: ***
Let’s Eat, by Tom Parker-Bowles is published by Pavilion, cover price £25
Fuss Free Flavours received a complimentary copy for review. All opinions are our own, we were not required to write a positive review