Saturday, 16 February 2013

Villages Of Vision by Gillian Darley

Gillian Darley’s book, subtitled A Study Of Strange Utopias, looks at planned villages and  model villages in Britain and Ireland. That is, places like Saltaire, New Lanark, Bournville and Port Sunlight where factory owners designed and built attractive villages for their work force to live in. Elsewhere there were other reasons why villages were planned: the Duke Of Devonshire moved the village of Edensor so that it did not spoil his view from Chatsworth House ! Gillian Darley’s book contains a gazetteer of over 400 villages so that the reader can discover these places themselves. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Don’t Sweat The Aubergine by Nicholas Clee
( Short Books 2005; ISBN 1-904977-1)

This is arguably the only cookery book that you will ever need. Free of glossy, unrealistic photographs or irrelevant philosophising, the book concentrates on telling the reader how to cook both basic dishes and more adventurous ones. Each of the chapters tells you what to do, how to do it and, most importantly, why you do it. This helps the inexperienced or the nervous cook to feel confident and calm in the kitchen. Clee manages to dispel myths about gravy; stock and many other cookery skills. He covers both British and foreign cuisine, saving you waste money on extra cookery books. Helpfully the author starts the book with chapters on equipment and ingredients and concludes with a short bibliography, generously mentioning Nigel(Slater), Nigella (Lawson) and Delia (Smith). I have given several copies of this book to friends and relatives; all have appreciated it.