February 19, 2004
The Pedant in the Kitchen

I recently picked up a copy of Julian Barnes' newest book, The Pedant in the Kitchen. With a few reservations, I enjoy Barnes' writings and the the book was marked with a "signed by the author" sticker, almost justifying the ridiculously high price tag of 20 euros (about $25). We are talking about a pretty small book here: 14x19 cm and 135 pages. But the title was intriguing and I'm always curious when two of my areas of interest intersect: reading and cooking.

This is a seriously funny book. Even if you are nothing like Mr. Barnes (as is the case for me) you have to sympathize with his plight. Starting his cooking rather late in life, he is perplexed by so much the rest of us take for granted: what exactly are "two medium onions"? How much is a handful? What if his hands are not the same size as the author's?

On the other hand, he also deals with a lot of issues that even practised amateur chefs will recognize. The chapter entitled No, I Won't Do That left me in tears of laughter. Not A Dinner Party also struck a note: how much nicer to say you have invited friends over for food rather than claim a Dinner Party.

I'm still not sure that a book you can read in 40 minutes is ever worth over $20 dollars (including the signature) but it's worth borrowing this book from some other poor sucker who did. It's definitely worth a laugh!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at February 19, 2004 3:05 PM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

I have just realized this is really a hot-off-the-presses preview review. The book is only available on the Amazon UK site, not the US one. You may have to wait a little while before picking it up at your local library!

Posted by Meg on February 20, 2004 at 10:53 AM
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