I’m currently reading The Real Food Companion (at Fishpond and Amazon). Yeah, it’s a recipe book, yep I’m reading it cover to cover. It’s not just that I’m that sort of person who likes to read recipe books for relaxation, I do, but it’s also (trust me) a really good read.
If you’re an Australian foodie, organic, locavore, gardening, environmentally conscious, “dreams of one day having that little farm” type of person then you’ve almost definitely heard of Matthew Evans. If you somehow missed him, or you’re from overseas, well he’s kind of Australia’s own Michael Pollan and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wrapped into one. But, um, much more attractive than either of them 😉
The Real Food Companion was published to accompany Matthew’s first TV series. Yes, it’s a recipe book and yes it has some yummy sounding recipes (I’m yet to cook one) but it’s the other stuff that I REALLY like. The recipes are interspersed with case studies on farmers, food philosophy and all sorts of information about food. Like did you know that you should ask for pork from female pigs because it tastes sweeter? And that pork from male pigs should be made into salami and other strong-tasting foods to mask its potentially strong taste? I didn’t and I’m currently too scared to ask my butcher or the pig farmers at the market about it – must get over that fear though.
I’ve read lots of locavore/environmental/organic food philosophy books and they are so rarely Australian. I read far more about what’s happening in American and British agriculture than in Australian. It is so wonderful to have one of these books written from an Australian perspective. But if you’re not Australian, don’t worry. The book has very obviously been written for an international audience. There are lots of international examples and Matthew “translates” words in brackets that American or other audiences might not be so familiar with.
So if, after all the giving that is Christmas, you have a little spare cash and want to spend it on yourself, I can highly recommend The Real Food Companion.