Love, Solace and Deadly Nightshade

There’s a bit of a hidden treasure, if not quite on my doorstep, then only an hour’s drive away towards the Cotswolds. Compton Verney is an historic manor and parish, with a Grade-I listed country house, redesigned by Robert Adam in the 1760s and landscaped by...

Down Mexico Way (with a detour to Italy)

I could not at first remember why I bore a grudge against the late Angela Carter. But a rapid search turned up, as its first item, a review in The London Review of Books for 24 January 1985, of The Official Foodie Handbook by Ann Barr and me. The piece is uninformed,...

Obituary Edward Mortimer

Edward Mortimer, foreign affairs journalist who became Kofi Annan’s speechwriter at the UN– obituary His ability to listen intently to opposing arguments contributed to the style of Annan’s leadership ByTelegraph Obituaries27 June 2021 • 10:00pm Edward Mortimer, who...

Bloomsbury Stud – Sculptor, wrecker and seducer

A beautiful book, but a fairly orthodox biography of the Hon. Stephen “Tommy” Tomlin Bloomsbury Stud: The Life of Stephen “Tommy” Tomlin by Michael Bloch and Susan Fox M.A.B., £40.00 Despite its pornography–promising title, Bloomsbury Stud is a fairly orthodox...

A pre-lockdown magazine feature

The Amazon delivery guy rang the bell, then scampered off to safety behind the garden gate, a good distance, but not so far that he couldn’t hear and acknowledge my “thank you.” My wife is so far coping with her duties as a Parish Counsellor by attending meetings...

We shouldn’t be so squeamish about eating foie gras

Norman Kolpas argues that overfeeding geese mimics what pre-migratory birds do naturally, and our disapproval betrays an ignorance of bird physiology Foie Gras: A Global History Norman Kolpas Reaktion Books, pp. 152, £10.99 In his excellent, brief chronicle of foie...

Barbara Rose, art historian with a colourful private life

Barbara Rose, the internationally celebrated art historian, curator, critic and filmmaker, who has died aged 84, was a pioneer in several fields of scholarship, ranging from the art of Romanesque Spain to contemporary Minimalism. In the course of a career lasting...

A foodie in his element – Dirt (by Bill Bufurd)

Dirt: Adventures in French Cooking By Bill Buford, Jonathan Cape £18.99 Dirt has a bad name. What a shame that the UK publishers didn’t change the monosyllabic title of Bill Buford’s knotty, gripping memoir of restaurant kitchens in Lyon for British readers....

Unpleasant smells can actually enhance pleasure

Harold McGee’s Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World’s Smells is an ambitious and enormous work. Indeed it’s so large, at 654 pages and weighing nearly a kilo, that I could only manage to read it at the kitchen table — which made me appreciate its...