Friday, May 03, 2024

Five of the best books about eating

Sophie Ratcliffe is professor of literature and creative criticism at the University of Oxford and a fellow and tutor at Lady Margaret Hall. In addition to her scholarly books, including On Sympathy, she has published commentary pieces and book reviews for the Guardian, the New Statesman, and the Times Literary Supplement, among other outlets, and has served a judge for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction and the Wellcome Book Prize.

Ratcliffe's forthcoming book is Loss, A Love Story: Imagined Histories and Brief Encounters.

At the Guardian she tagged five of the best books about eating, including:
The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester

“This is not a conventional cookbook,” writes Lanchester’s hero Tarquin Winot in this thriller-masquerading-as-foodie memoir. Over a variety of “seasonal” chapters, Winot weighs in about his various relatives and friends, “the many extant batter, waffle and pancake dishes” from “Swedish krumkaker” to “Polish naleśniki” and his convictions in relation to fish (“lemon sole is a very underrated fish, much closer in quality to its more highly regarded Dover cousin than wisdom normally permits”). Lanchester crafts Winot-as-author to be infuriating – he’s pompous, tricksy and pedantic – but a fancy prose style soon turns out to be the most innocent of his vices. A dark, funny and exquisitely crafted book.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue