Posts tagged ‘Food & drink’

August 26, 2019

Dinner with Edward – The Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent

by Team Riverside

Hardback, Pushkin Press (One imprint), £12.99, out nowIsabel Vincent DINNER WITH EDWARD

This is an engaging true story of a New York friendship between Edward, an elderly widower, and Isabel, a Canadian journalist recently moved to the city.

Over several exquisite home cooked meals Edward and Isabel talk about the large and important things in life – love, food, loss.  Isabel has been covering the Bosnian war, where she met her Serbian husband, and has a new job.  Her marriage is failing, and she has a young daughter.  Edward is the father of her friend, and he is recently widowed after having been married to the love of his life for many years.  He had worked as a tailor, a welder, and in a factory.  He and his wife wrote plays as well as raising their children.

The food and drink in the book are mouth-watering.  I must try his way of making a bourbon and pastis cocktail, which can be adapted with absinthe to make green fairies (p. 54).  I sometimes want books which are consoling or comforting without losing their edge, and this definitely met this criterion.  It was a helpful distraction in a stressful week.  It also reminded me of the very great sensual pleasures of eating and drinking thoughtfully.

Dinner with Edward is not rose tinted: Edward’s daughter warns Isabel that her father can be quite controlling, and this manifests in him insisting that Isabel try dressing or making up in a particular way (p.71).  However, it is clearly only ever done on Isabel’s own terms, and does inject a little Cinderella feeling into a bleak time in her life.  Sometimes you just do need some great clothes that you can’t afford.

The book is very New York – I had never heard of Roosevelt Island ( – and the thrills of hunting down delicacies in little shops and markets feature strongly.  I loved the glimpse of a life open to new friends and acquaintances.  In the age of online friends, we can make unexpected ones if we approach things with an open heart.  Edward continually finds people interesting, and takes emotional risks despite having had several terrible heartbreaks in his life.  The joys can that can be found in hard times leap out, as does the importance of being open to possibilities and saying yes to things.  A little gem.

Review by Bethan

October 17, 2010

Beyond Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking: Part II: Fegus Henderson

by Matt

There was a time when bringing someone back to your humble abode it was hard to convince them of the explanation for the bucket of what appeared to be animal entrails soaking quietly in the corner of your room. Whatever I said though, they just didn’t believe me. Since those dark days, the popularity of the St John’s restaurant and it’s slogan ‘ A Kind Of British Cooking’ has spread beyond Jack The Ripper’s old stomping ground and this is Fergus Henderson’s East End restaurant’s second cookery book. These days I can reply, truthfully, that I’m  preparing Ox Tongue and it needs to soak in brine for fourteen days before being used for the delicious chicken and ox tongue pie recipe. Unlike in years gone by, when people would hastily make scrambled excuses before leaving to never return, today, they’re more likely to reply, “Really? Can I stay for tea?” Even if tea won’t be ready for another ten days.  It’s not just ox tongue, squirrel, a gratin of tripe and a whole pig’s head though, St Johns are equally revered for their regard of none-meat form and their lentils with goat’s cheese curd remain a personal favourite of mine. That said I have on more than one occasion spent my last ten pounds in this same restaurant on a bacon sandwich (the recipe for the mystery tomato sauce still not revealed, book 3?) and a coffee, and, by that evening I didn’t regret it. In fact I was richer for it.