East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Cooking is one of those skills that look good on a writer, a scientist, or an action hero.
Being able to put together some quality food out of raw ingredients is a show of mastery, and an essential skill.
Anyway, that’s my rationale.

9781906502904One year ago – give or take a few weeks – I bought a book as a gift for a friend’s wife.
The poor girl can’t cook to save her life (it’s not a mortal sin, mind you, just a fact of life) and she’s always been rather curious about my (supposed) cooking prowness.
So I went and got her a copy of South Wind through the Kitchen, that’s a sort of best-of compilation of recipes and food writing by the great late lamented Elizabeth David.
If I can do anything at all in the kitchen, I owe it to my mom, Len Deighton and Elizabeth David.
And as I could not give my mom to that lady as a gift, in doubt I went for the David book, because it’s sort of more dignified than Deighton’s by any means masterful Action Cook Book.
Also, I caught a copy in a local book store, which is always better, I thought, than having the book mailed through Amazon.
I picked it up and thought about wrapping it up in brown paper, like something out of a grocery store.
Something silly like that. Continue reading