Sunday, August 3, 2014
Meanwhile I've also been enjoying 'The Oxford Companion to Food' it's officially released later this month but I got very lucky when Shiny New Books offered me a chance to review it for them (very lucky, that's a big thank you to Oxford University Press and Shiny New Books because I'm beyond delighted to have a copy of this). I have a lot of time for the Oxford Companions to things, the Companion to Wine is the industry standard if you sell wine (which I do) and has seen me through all my exams, it is very useful indeed. I'm hoping work will spring for the Beer companion at some point - we really need that too. 'The Oxford Companion to English Literature' was a birthday present last year, it was a long coveted item which more than lived up to expectation.
I have a friend who's almost fanatical about reference books, she loves them with a passion, collects them with a passion, and actually quivered with delight when she saw the Companion to Food on my kitchen table. I'm not quite as enthusiastic about reference books as she is but convenient as it is to google a thing there's so much information out there that I'm increasingly attracted back to actual books. This is partly about branding and reputation - if OUP has put their name on something I trust it. It's also partly about convenience - maybe it's a sign of age but certainly for wine related queries the book is often the quicker option, but finally it's partly down to personality. The tone Jancis Robinson brings to 'The Oxford Companion to Wine' is scholarly and authoritative (just what I want for work) but in 'The Oxford Companion to Food' I'm detecting a certain dry humour as well which makes it very enjoyable to read. It's a winning combination.