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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…..

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