Just finished Nigel Slater’s excellent ‘Eating for England’. It’s not a new book – published by Fourth Estate 2007 – but is hugely enjoyable and very readable. I spent most of the time reminiscing over all the things I remember from my childhood that he catalogues. Lot’s of ‘I remember…’ and ‘did you have…’.
Because it’s not an A to Z of our relationship with food, it drifts from one wonderful, or otherwise, memory to another with such diverse items as Black Pudding, Murray Mints, Ribena, Dairylea and Branston Pickle.
What comes across is a wonderful catalogue of things we’ve forgotten, or would like to forget. His summary of our attitude says it all: ‘the French cook with their senses, the Italians with their hearts, the Spanish with their energy, the Germans with their appetite. The British, bless them, cook with their wallets.’
Whether you remember Fry’s Five Centres or not, read this book for a trip down memory lane. Highly recommended.
Enjoyed spending last Sunday afternoon listening to George Orwell’s Animal Farm on BBC 4xtra read by Roger Ringrose – I never tire of the story.
If ever there was a book that was made for today it’s this one, though I’ve spoken to a few people who can’t see any similarities between the pigs and some of our current world leaders.
The reading was followed by an interesting discussion on the merits, or otherwise, in a 2016 recording of ‘In Our Time’, chaired by Melvyn Bragg.
Just catching up with one of the Hay Festival sessions. This time it’s the wonderful poet Benjamin Zephaniah talking about his new book ‘Windrush Child’ (pub Scholastic) to Gemma Cairney. It’s always joyful to hear him talk – currently waving an ‘I love Birmingham’ mug at the camera. He says he’s seriously dyslexic and that being referred to as writer rather than a poet, makes him nervous. He’s keen to have black history taught in schools but also episodes of white history that needs to be told. ‘We are all told one story,’ he says, ‘it’s our duty to dig deeper and tell our own stories.’
His final words of the session are from an old Jamaican saying: ‘Each one teach one.’ If a slave learned to read, it was their duty to teach another slave to read.
Congratulations to Benjamin on being awarded the Hay Festival Medal for Poetry 2021.