Love and Hunger (and High Tea) | Charlotte Wood

Love and Hunger caters to my current food obsession perfectly.It provides elements of the Slow Food movement, the common sense of Michael Pollan and the appreciation of good food and cooking as a way of living life to the full.

Charlotte (notice I use her first name familiarly! Having shared a High Tea with her last weekend at Better Read Than Dead, I don’t feel right referring to her coldly as Wood anymore.) Anyway…Charlotte weaves family anecdotes and personal vignettes together with her favourite recipes.

I have already made Charlotte’s hedgehog slice to great acclaim and I have the puys lentils and chicken stock firmly in my sights.

Charlotte reminds me that cooking is an act of love. That food, the aroma of it cooking, the taste and textures of it, stay with us for life. Food is memory. Sharing a meal is a lovely way to bring together family and friends, to create a mood, a memory and magic.

Sadly, Charlotte had lost her voice for the High Tea and most of her observations were made via her good friend Stephanie Clifford-Smith, who filled in admirably. Even with a large group of virtual strangers gathered around a bookshop table, food (and tea and maybe a glass of wine or two) had the power to bring us all together, opening up about our food stories and sharing our food memories.

The best part, though, was sharing this fulfilling experience with the lovely Thea and the wonderful GirlBooker and her partner.

Love & Hunger is a distillation of everything Charlotte Wood has learned over more than twenty years about cooking and the pleasures of simple food well made. In this age of gastro-porn and the fetishisation of food, the pressure to be as expert as the chefs we’ve turned into celebrities can feel overwhelming.

An instant antidote to such madness is this wise and practical book – an ode to good food, prepared and presented with minimum fuss and maximum love.

Cooking represents ‘creativity in its purest form’. It is meditation and stimulation, celebration and solace, a gift both offered and received. It can nourish the soul – and the mind – as well as the body. Love & Hunger will make you long to get into the kitchen to try the surprising tips and delicious recipes, and will leave you feeling freshly inspired to cook with joy for the people you love. Love & Hunger is a gift for all who value the solitary and shared pleasures of cooking and eating. Like a simple but glorious meal, this feast of a book is infused with warmth and generosity.

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