Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Book week

Books figure large in my life and I thought I might have a book week - a week in which I would go through my library and pull a few you might find interesting. So, five books and five different subjects, perhaps.

Monday's book was fair of face (or not) and Tuesday's book is full of grace - the grace that comes from loving both the journey, the destination, and friendship. Tuesday's book is Ottolenghi: the Cookbook written by two Israelis living in London, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

Let me quote them:

"It was definitely some sort of providence that let us to meet for the first time in London in 1999. Our paths might have crossed plenty of times - we had many more obvious opportunities to meet before - and yet it was only then, thousands of miles away from where we started, that we got to know each other.

"We were both born in Jerusalem in 1968, Sami on the Arab east side and Yotam in the Jewish west. We grew up a few kilometres away from each other in two separate societies, forced together by a fateful war just a year earlier. Looking back know, we realise how extremely different our childhood experiences were and yet how often they converged - physically, when venturing out to the "other side", and spiritually, sharing sensations of a place and a time.

"As young gay adults, we both moved to Tel Aviv at the same time, looking for personal freedom and a sense of hope and normality that Jerusalem couldn't offer. There, we first formed meaningful relationships and took our first steps in our careers. Then, in 1997, we both arrived in London with an aspiration to broaden our horizons even further, possibly to escape again from a place we had grown out of.

"So, finally, on the doorstep of Baker and Spice in west London, we chatted for thirty minutes before realising that we shared a language and a history. And it was there, over the next two years, that we formed our bond of friendship and creativity."

Ottolenghi was unfortunately not on our itinerary when we were in London but our dear friend there sent a copy of the cookery book for a birthday. A fine book it is, too, well-illustrated with pictures of food as you might expect (see photo of chocolate meringues) but also with characters gazing with such considered curiosity at the oh-so-imminent gratification.

Unfortunately, some of the photos are marred by the spine of the pages - split gutters (see yesterday's comment from BWE) but overall it is a ravishing book beautifully illustrated and stuffed with treats yet to be made. Apropos treats go here.

As far as I can tell, no photographers were harmed or credited in this endeavor. If I am wrong I shall amend as soon as I can.


  1. Love this book, especially when in search of something fresh and different.

  2. I love this book so much that I don't even care about the gutters.

  3. Janet - I understand. I see them and I wonder why they do this but it is so common to book and magazine design nowadays. It is the way it is.