I’ve been very quiet about this – mostly because for a long time it didn’t seem at all likely to actually happen – but I’ve been working away slowly on a new book for the past couple of years. The first half of that time was spent in ridiculous procrastination about what kind of book it would be, while the publisher probably thought I was going to deliver ‘War and Peace 2 – The Cabbage Years’.
Then I hit on the brilliant idea of doing a recipe book. You know – one of those quaint books with instructions for nice things to make for dinner, and a few useful bits of information about the ingredients and variations you might find useful if you don’t actually have cime di rapa growing in your back garden.
This extraordinary idea was inspired by two things. First, I made something for dinner one night that just completely encapsulated the dual pleasures of making simple food and sharing it with someone you love. You can talk about food all you like but the pleasure of it is in cooking, sharing and, most of all, eating. And that’s the second thing – there’s just so much yak-yak about food these days, so much print and so much talk. By now, all you foodies are shopping consciously, locally and seasonally. You’ve got tomatoes on the apartment balcony and chard in the flower beds. You’ve got more food books beside your bed than in the kitchen. I still have plenty to say about all that stuff but the din of preachers is getting a bit shrill and I hate shouting over a crowd. So it seems like a good time to shut up and make dinner.
This book of simple pleasures will be hitting the bookshelves in March next year. Photography and editing start soon and I’ll try to keep you up to date in my usual diligent way. I can’t tell you the title just yet, hopefully in a week or two.
Up until a week or so ago we – we being me and the entire Harper Collins corporation – couldn’t quite put our fingers on that snappy combination of words that would make the world rush to buy the book. Then it came to me, in a flash of blinding simplicity and obviousness (is that a word?). The reason I can’t tell it to you is because the corporation is mulling it over, passing it up and down the floors and departments of Fulham Palace Road while we await white smoke. If you think my title idea is brilliant – without actually knowing what it is – put a simple yes in the comment box. All votes will be published, good, bad or indifferent.
Meanwhile, book news coming a la buses, the last one – ‘wild garlic, gooseberries…and me’ – is to be published in paperback on the 18th August. It’s got a lovely pink cover and a giveaway price, so even if you’ve got it already you’ll probably want to buy a stack of them to give as casual gifts. Here’s a link to the Harper Collins page where you can get a sneak preview of the cover – www.harpercollins.co.uk…