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:: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 ::

Pattern Recognition in Culinary Literature

I was drinking with my work colleagues in John Torode's Smiths of Smithfield on Friday evening. (Rubbish selection of beers incidentally, unless you like a choice of six shitty cold largers when you go out.)

Torode's panda eyed face stares down at you from the cover of his new book from all angles. The book is called John Torode's Beef. This isn't a food based pun allowing the chef to vent his frustrations with the service industry. It really is a book specifically about cooking beef. Part of the trend I am noticing in ever more specific tomes in culinary instruction.

We start with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's brilliant Meat book (and now a Fish one too, Veg to follow?), then progress to one specifically about the meat from one animal, like Beef, eventually moving on to books about individual cuts from specific animals, like the Steak Lovers Cookbook.

Then there's a plethora of Sausage books and complete freaks can even buy cookery books dedicated to Marmite. Guides to combining food and drinks now even cover what water to drink, following the introduction of the mineral water concierge to certain restaurants. I know I already have books dedicated to soups, to sauces, and to home made pasta.

But how far can this trend go? Will we see Making Sausages with Rabbit Shin Meat or What to Eat with Volvic? Or are short snappy titles the order of the day. Coming soon: Offal? Brassica? Parsnip? Eyes?

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