If the serenity of Ballymaloe House, the graceful self-assurance of the manor home itself initially hinted that this LitFest gathering might ever be in danger of falling on the wrong side of chi-chi, more Pimms than porter, white bread sandwich with crust removed, then life in and around The Big Shed was an excellent reminder that the pearl in every oyster begins with a piece of grit.
Rory O’Connell’s book, “Master It – How to Cook Today”, is not so much a treatise on Slow Food, but more a treatise on Slowly Does It Food. It is that rare thing is today’s hyper-speed world: a patient book.
Many readers will find it not just a personal text, but a personality text, as if Rory is in the kitchen with you, looking over your shoulder, suggesting a tweak, a pinch of seasoning, another twist of the dough there, don’t let the stock bubble too fiercely, ah that’s lovely, well done, delicious.
Manifestos are considered old hat these days. Where they might have fitted Marx and Engels and the Futurists or the Dogme filmmakers, there is a feeling that, in the age of Occupy, manifestos leave too much out.
Who can sum up the aspirations of citizens and movements in a few lines? And, of course, we expect political manifestos to be traduced as soon as their authors actually get into office.
Sandor Katz has one of those faces and personalities that draws you. And, when it comes to Fermentation, he speaks with a fluidity and clarity that comes from many years of articulating his subject, and with an intelligence that makes complicated issues sound simple. I could listen to him for hours.
My copy of A New Book of Middle Eastern Food was bought for holiday reading. The fat paperback made it home safely - just a little crumpled and ever-so-slightly smeared with suncream - after immeasurably enriching a trip around Morocco. I enjoyed the traditional stories, folklore and songs that punctuate the recipes and ate more adventurously with each chapter that I consumed.
I wanted to go, really I did, but the fact is that I got plastered instead.
Or rather, having taken an unceremonious tumble down the Nepalese Himalayas, it was my foot that got plastered while, somewhat unavoidably, the rest of me had to stay behind to keep it company.
Ballymaloe will be an extraordinary hive of activity over the weekend as the house and its grounds are taken over with an amazing series of demonstrations, workshops, discussions, tastings, walks and conversations.
John kicks off on Saturday morning at 9.30am discussing the Nordic Food Revolution with Claus Meyer, co-founder of NOMA and Ben Reade of the Nordic Food Lab.
Cork plays host to the fifth European Farmhouse and Artisan Cheesemakers Congress this weekend. A visit to Gubbeen Farm in Schull was blessed with glorious weather, incredible food and stunning Irish cheeses. Some of the most legendary Irish artisan food figures were there to enjoy the day.
Note: you may need a few minutes patience to download the photos. Please stay with us :)
We are delighted to say that the 100 Best Guides from 2013 are now available in a number of digital formats. You can buy digital guides from the iTunes bookstore, and these guides are suitable for mobile phones and iPads.
They are also available on Amazon in Kindle version. The links below lead to the various resources.