Thursday, May 14, 2015

Food and Death

This week I read two exceptional books: Eat by Nigel Slater and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Although they seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, both are provocative, comforting,  and beautifully written.

Being Mortal focuses on making the end of life part and parcel of your entire life. By facing hard issues and decisions before major illness strikes we -- and our families -- can make decisions about what we want to do. I especially appreciate that Dr. Gawande addressed the perspectives of doctors and nurses, along with patients and families.

When I finished the book, I thought, "Gee, this guy is really a genius. He should get one of those MacArthur grants." He has.

For more information on this book and the good doctor, go to

Eat is a beautiful cookbook. Cleverly split into sections like In the hand (sandwich) Little stews and Under a crust. At the beginning of each section, he describes the things he makes most frequently (for example, a roasted zucchinin and feta sandwich) followed by recipes. His recipes are simple, clear and utterly charming.

I had never heard of Nigel Slater, before but I understand he is one of the most popular chefs in England (although he insists he's a cook, not a chef). From this book, I know he is clever, practical and fun.

Here's one of his recipes:
Poor Man's Potatoes
For 2. Frugal, rich, nourishing

Wipe 1 pound of new potatoes and halve them. Heat a little olive oil in a shallow pan, place the potatoes in it cut side down and leave them to cook. Halve and see 2 large yellow or red peppers, cut them into long strips and add to the pan. Peel and finely slice a large yellow or red onion and add it to the potatoes and butter along with a large knob of butter. Leave to cook, with the occasional stir, until the potatoes are nicely golden and the onion is starting to soften. Pour in 1 2/3

While you are pondering the large questions raised in Being Mortal, I would advise making something delicious from Eat. Savor, savor, savor!

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