A few days ago, I responded to the siren call of Joanna’s Food, in which Joanna invited emails from anyone wanting her duplicate copy of Jane Grigson’s Fish Book.
Being the type who can’t resist a challenge (and yes, that’s a trait has got me into more scrapes than I care to recall), and as someone who adores all things fish, I promptly sent off my email. And so it’s come to pass that I’m now the proud owner of said book.
Here it is...
Ah, but, you see, that's just where you're wrong.
What’s so special about it? Well, until her death in 1990, Jane Grigson was one of the UK’s finest food writers. And not just a writer, either, but also an extraordinary font of culinary wisdom and expertise, not to mention a dry humourist to boot. Such an enviable combination of talents makes this book (and her others) an inimitable and irresistible read. Take this extract, for example, on eels:
‘I love eel... It is delicate, but rich; it falls neatly from the bone; grilled to golden brown and flecked with dark crustiness from a charcoal fire, it makes the best of all picnic food; stewed in red wine, cushioned with onions and mushrooms, bordered with triangles of fried bread, it is the meal for cold nights in autumn; smoked and cut into elegant fillets, it starts a wedding feast or a Christmas Eve dinner with style and confidence. Its skin is so tough that it was used to join the two parts of a flail together... or to make a whip for a boy’s top, or to bind the elastic to his catapult...’
Fantastic, isn’t it?
No, it doesn’t have glossy pictures. Or any pictures, come to that. But trust me, it really doesn’t matter.
I’m so looking forward to having a quiet moment in which to have a proper read of it – and, of course, to trying some of the recipes (monkfish fritters with skordalia, anyone? scallops with white wine and Jerusalem artichokes? chilled gumbo bisque?). And when I do – try the recipes, that is – you can be sure I’ll be blogging about it...
Thanks again, Joanna!