From the author of the Fortnum & Mason Debut Food Book of 2019, Summer's Lease looks at the cooking techniques we use instead of heat which, in letting us step away from the stove, lend themselves perfectly to summer eating: breaking, salting, souring and ageing.
The long dog days of a tiring summer are no time to be a cook. A few charred sardines are of course a wonderful thing, but there the grill sits, pouring out heat into the already-hot kitchen; anyone with any sense who wants charred sardines is somewhere close to the seaside.... It is a time when you might, if you weren t so hot, wonder what it means to cook at all. Is there cooking without fire...?
We understand that when we say something is cooked, we mean it has been heated; but we also understand that a cook does much more than just cooking. The chopping, the beating, the marinating, the dressing... What cooks do is best defined not by the word 'cooking', but by the idea of metamorphosis. Cooks transform ingredients.
Through recipes and meanderings, award-winning food writer Thom Eagle explores what it means to create dishes without a reliance on fire and flame, and offers a unique and tantalising glimpse inside the mind of a chef.
Thom’s lyrical, poetic writing reflects his cooking style. Contemplative, calm, thoughtful, scholarly even in its scope, “Summer Lease” is possibly more menu driven than his first opus, but still retains a feeling that the words come to you via a friend, situated just behind you, as you cook, whispering why you should do something rather than merely guiding your knife strokes and pan flips. He eschews heat in the summer months, in favour of ageing and souring and salting. And as a fellow Kentish man and also a fine maker of garums, what’s not to like about this one?