Table Talk : Sweet and Sour, Salt and Bitter, Paperback

Table Talk : Sweet and Sour, Salt and Bitter Paperback

1.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


The first collection of food writing by Britain's funniest and most feared critic A.A.

Gill knows food, and loves food. A meal is never just a meal. It has a past, a history, connotations. It is a metaphor for life. A.A. Gill delights in decoding what lies behind the food on our plates: famously, his reviews are as much ruminations on society at large as they are about the restaurants themselves. So alongside the concepts, customers and cuisines, ten years of writing about restaurants has yielded insights on everything from yaks to cowboys, picnics to politics. TABLE TALK is an idiosyncratic selection of A.A. Gill's writing about food, taken from his Sunday Times and Tatler columns.

Sometimes inspired by the traditions of a whole country, sometimes by a single ingredient, it is a celebration of what great eating can be, an excoriation of those who get it wrong, and an education about our own appetites. Because it spans a decade, the book focuses on A.A.

Gill's general dining experiences rather than individual restaurants - food fads, tipping, chefs, ingredients, eating in town and country and abroad, and the best and worst dining experiences. Fizzing with wit, it is a treat for gourmands, gourmets and anyone who relishes good writing.




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Gill's patronising, middle class arrogance and his faux belligerence I can forgive. His over-use of similes I cannot.It's a real shame, as Gill knows his stuff and there are some genuinely interesting and witty articles here. A pity then that his writing becomes increasingly annoying: dishes are as salty as "a fat bloke's cycling shorts" and sauces are "the colour of a stripper's knickers and the consistency of a politician's promise". Describing kedgeree as the colour of "Chinese cowardice" is a cheap shot for the sake of cheap laugh. Worse, it does not tell us what the dish actually looked like (I'm guessing some shade of yellow). Lazy writing.The kedgeree dish is from a lunch that he shared with Jeremy Clarkson, the only man to outdo Gill in his use of contrived and convoluted similes. The appendix references Clarkson on no less than 12 pages throughout the book. Enough said.

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