A beautiful and unique book by Arabella Boxer, the then restaurant critic for Cosmopolitan Magazine. The book was designed by her then husband, the magazine editor Mark Boxer. Found on every liberally-minded, forward-thinking kitchen in the 1970s.
Before Alice waters it was unheard of for restaurants to consider the seasons or provenance of ingredients in their menus. Her restaurant preceded everything. Before Alain Ducasse, before ‘farm to table’, before today’s de-rigeur ’local-n-seasonal’ menus, there was a lady in Berkeley who just saw this style as the most obvious reaction to a food world that had become industrialised.
The River cafe is probably my favourite restaurant in London. The complete opposite of what’s trendy right now, the simple a la carte menus focusses in a beautifully un-teachy way on giving the customer what they want to eat. The book is exactly same, and my family adores the chocolate nemesis cake, too.
No self respecting chef would dismiss Jamie Oliver, globally the most successful person in food by a long way. This, his first book, seems so long ago now but it was arguably the first ‘mainstream’ cookbook, and has probably made more people try cooking than any other book ever written.