Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Little Library Cookbook - Kate Young

I've occasionally read Kate Young's Guardian column where she matches recipes to books, but never got particularly excited about it - mostly because I was never particularly excited by the books that were featured when I saw it. Nevertheless I was quite excited when I saw a book was coming, and had put it in my wish list hoping someone might consider it as a Christmas present. Then yesterday I finally saw a copy (it's not made it to Leicester's Waterstones, but it was everywhere in London where I'd been wine tasting) and decided I really couldn't wait to get it.

I love the concept of matching books with food and drink (as demonstrated by the 100 odd books and booze posts to date that I've done here) finding that it adds another layer to your memories of a beloved book, and clear inspiration in the kitchen. I like the project element of it too as you search for just the right recipe to make the moment live.

Sometimes the choice is obvious, sometimes the links between text and food (or drink) are more personal. The most obvious food in literature is probably Proust's Madeleines (for which Young does indeed provide a recipe), but Edmunds's love for Turkish delight in 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' must run a close second (recipe also included) and I bet it's a book that far more people have read.

Altogether there are 100 recipes divided by the time of day they might be eaten, some are things to make on a lazy weekend when there are hours to spare for pottering around making Marmalade (Paddington) and cinnamon buns (inspired by Donna Tartt's 'The Goldfinch'), or suggestions for porridge (The Secret Garden) which can be part of any but the most rushed morning routine. Also, and I wholeheartedly agree with Young on this, porridge doesn't have to be confined to breakfast.

And if you're thinking porridge isn't really worthy of a recipe, or that people these days are all too inclined to fill cookbooks with things that are scarcely recipes at all, then at least here it makes sense, because this is as much about a love of books, and a genuine love of food, as it is the recipes. It's a deeply engaging combination which provides a reading list as well as a recipe list, and encouragement to find the same kind of links in the books I too love.


  1. The Bears who live in our house have designated you ‘A Friend to Bears’ for referencing both Marmalade and porridge in the same post. And we couldn’t agree more about porridge. It is the go-to comfort food at all times of day here.

    1. Love porridge, and if I'm generally happy with the cooking suggestion that comes on the side of the packet, I'm also happy to hear others extol its virtues too. It's good stuff. Marmalade I'm evangelical about, making it might take an age, but it's one of those jobs that leaves you feeling like you've really achieved something at the end of it.

  2. How did I miss this post? Food + cooking = JOY. Perhaps it's not too late to add to my holiday wish list. . .