Bee Wilson

Bee Wilson

Food writer and historian

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/bee-wilson
Bee Wilson is an award-winning author and journalist, who writes for a wide range of publications about food and other things.  She suspects that thinking about food may be a way to think about everything else too. Her books include First Bite: How We Learn to Eat, Consider the Fork and Swindled.  Her favourite utensil is the potato ricer. She learned how to cook sitting at the kitchen table, reading her mother's cookbooks, starting with The Penguin Cookery Book by Bee Nilson ( as a child, she changed the N to a W).

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Bee's favorite cookbooks

The Zuni Café Cookbook

The Zuni Café Cookbook

Judy Rodgers

This is one of those rare books that actually teaches you to become a better cook. It's worth it for the Chicken and bread salad alone (and the mock Porchetta and the orange-currant scones). Rodgers talks you through the minute details of a recipe with such intelligence that by the time you've cooked it a few times, you start to internalise her advice and develop better instincts.

Honey & Co: Food from the Middle East

Honey & Co: Food from the Middle East

This book has many virtues - the bright Middle Eastern flavours, the clear instructions, the delightful descriptions of the trials of running a small business. But I love it most for the heady perfumes it fills the kitchen with when you cook from it: dried lime, mahleb, cardamom. These are recipes for pleasure, not for show.

Good Things

Good Things

Jane Grigson

From walnuts to parsley to kippers, this is a book of passions, written with Grigson's inimitable mixture of scholarship and wit.

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The Accomplisht Cook

The Accomplisht Cook

Robert May

This is the book to turn to if you want to be reminded that cooking is not all a story of progress. In 1685, May understood more about flavours than many cooks today. Highlights include 21 ways of making omelettes, including one with asparagus and verjuice.

A Book of Middle Eastern Food

A Book of Middle Eastern Food

Claudia Roden

Without this book, there would arguably have been no Moro, no Ottolenghi, no Persiana. Its influence on British cooking has been huge. I am reminded of Roden every time I eat a tabbouleh or an orange and almond cake. The great surprise is that the recipes - from 1968 - remain as fresh as ever.

Sichuan Cookery

Sichuan Cookery

Fuchsia Dunlop

Dunlop, who trained at the school of cookery in Chengdu, opened our eyes to a completely different style of Chinese cooking, edgy with chillis and fermented beans. She is the true heir to Elizabeth David: a traveller-cook with exceptional taste.

A Change of Appetite

A Change of Appetite

Diana Henry

This life-enhancing book is one of the very few cookbooks that has ever tried to square the circle of pleasure and nutrition. When you cook from it, you feel the opposite of deprived. The recipes, rich with saffron and herbs, are not about 'clean eating' but what Henry describes as 'accidentally healthy' food.

Good Things to Eat

Good Things to Eat

Lucas Hollweg

From gratins to salads, this is a modern classic. I must have cooked a higher percentage of the dishes in this book than any other on my shelves. The food is not ground-breaking, but it is deeply comforting and approachable, in a Nigel Slater mould.

Master It: How to Cook Today

Master It: How to Cook Today

This is a book I turn to when I feel my cooking is becoming too busy or baroque and I want to be reminded of a failsafe method for a savoury tart, a dish of glazed carrots or 'a plain cake in a tin'.