Wednesday, July 1, 2009


John Saladino, an interior designer I've admired since the 1980s has, I'm sure everyone already knows, a new book in the bookstores. Saladino Villa, is an insight into how one of America's subtle and bravura interior designers thinks, builds, furnishes and inhabits the spaces - absolutely brilliant.  I've leafed thru twice since I received it on Monday morning and it occurred to me at the first glance how remarkably consistent Mr. Saladino has remained over the years. I don't mean his style has not changed or developed, it clearly has, but there is a fundamental aesthetic based on scale and proportion that classical, in both senses, yet utterly modern. Eternal verities is a phrase that springs to mind when I view his rooms. 

The second book I received is the Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater, an English cook, cookery writer, newspaper columnist and TV personality. The only other writer about food I could compare with him in his capacity for providing a good, if drool-inducing, fireside read is Elizabeth David. Of course, there are many cooks who write and there are many who perhaps should not have done so, but as a reader and user of cookery books I find Mr. Slater's books accessible, no-nonsense and seductive. What else does one need, other than recipes for seasonal foods, from a cookery book? 

What can I say? Two out-of-print Osbert Lancaster books. Two! I'm as thrilled as a pig in muck.

Let me leave you with a quote from Drayneflete Revealed:

The Drayneflete Carol

Alle littel childer syng
Prayses to our yonge kyng
Some syng sherpe and some syng flat
Alma Mater Exeat

Alle engles in ye skie
Maken loude melodie
With sackbut, organ, pipe and drum
Ad Terrorem Onmium

Ye poure beastes in ye stalle
Alack, they cannot syng at alle
Ne cock ne henne of either sexe
De Minimis Non Curat Lex

First sung "on the occasion of a Yultetide visit to Drayneflete of the young Richard II." (14th century)

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