There are probably more people writing about food than ever before. What they write is better illustrated, more fact-filled and better presented than in times past. But for me, there’s just too much of it that’s not very good. As a music lover can recognise Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms after hearing a few bars, so a good food reader knew his preferred food writers. Each one had Sometimes you could pick them up on accuracy, but the words were well crafted and enjoyable for themselves. Unless you were a complete sham, if you published a recipe
Today too many “writers” go on the Net, find a recipe, cut and paste it, alter a word or two here and there and palm it off as your own – all done in minutes. Why is this? Because, in order to make a living most journalists, except the “stars” of the profession, have to work incredibly hard. In this day and age, editors or publishers can pick up every kind of food article or recipe FREE. I hope my editor doesn’t read this.
Such are the pressures, that writers have little time to fine-tune their work or little time to develop their own style, like those of a generation ago, many of whom I fear are regarded as old fashioned today. One such is an author I enjoy a lot; Norman Douglas (1908 – 2003), whose writing about life assumed we eat and drink (as opposed to many who completely or mostly ignore the two vital factors that keep us alive) He wrote….
Despite one’s love of Mediterranean food, the British climate is not suitable for year-round sunshine cooking. So, my influences are several, and most of them are from the female sex. For instance: my mother.
my first wife. from Madame Ttokos, founder of the first Greek Cypriot taverna in London.
Mary, my wife. Ariadne of Vasa. Ragu Bolgnese: Bianchi’s spaghetti bar, Soho, London.
And, I owe a lot to Elizabeth David – who opened my eyes to the wonderful variety of Mediterranean cooking If you haven’t read any of her works, may I strongly recommend the anthology, “South Wind through the Kitchen”. Read this and I will bet you will soon get hold of her other books. Her life was not your ordinary one, so was good material for a biography. In fact, there are two, both excellent; one “authorised” (by Artemis Cooper) and the other unauthorised (by Lisa Chaney).
But perhaps, the experience that most widened my culinary horizons was writing about food and wine for the past quarter century, 21 years of which were spent in Cyprus. There, friendly chefs and proprietors happily told me how they cooked. And they showed me, too…. Just like this…..