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Sunday, 8 November 2009

Full English by Tom Parker Bowles - a review

Whilst hanging around the Nottingham branch of Waterstone’s bookshop I saw Tom Parker Bowles’ paperback book ‘Full English – a journey through the British and their food’ on sale. I couldn’t really justify buying the book with my wallet being as empty as it at the moment but had a flick through and decided that I would try and get it through my local library on loan for nothing.

The library service took about a week to get the book for me and I found it very entertainingly written, historically fascinating food-wise and pretty much un-put-downable. The book covers much more than this but I really enjoyed reading about the cooking standards of the best fish and chips, the author’s love of Bury prime black pudding, home cured Wiltshire bacon and the passionate makers of Jamie Montgomery’s unpasteurised Cheddar cheese.

Tom Parker Bowles covers The West, The North, The Midlands, The East, London and a finishes off with Full English. There are also regional recipes for: pigeons in cider with apples; brawn, cheese toast or English rabbit; apple and rhubarb crumble; Lancashire hotpot; potted shrimps; battered tripe; Winnie’s Eccles cakes; mutton and spinach; real pork scratchings; balti chicken and mushroom; dressed crab; Kentish huffkins; roast bone marrow and parsley salad’ steak and kidney and oyster pudding; eel pie; devilled kidneys; kedgeree and snipe on toast as well as others.

He also talks about the TV show where Heston Blumenthal went into the Little Chef at Popham to change the image and food fare for the better. I, upon reading this next bit, actually got teary when, after all the change of d├ęcor and complete revamp of menu, the waitress asked one couple as they left the premises, ‘Did you enjoy your lunch?’ Beaming, they replied ‘Can’t you see the satisfaction on our faces?’

I would say the same of this book. Highly recommended and a very full and satisfying read. I loved reading too about all the colourful characters that pepper his journey. Thank you


Gail's Man said...

Might see if I can get it from the library too. I take it Tom must be related to old Camilla somehow.

Karen said...

I'll try my library too - lets hope they have a decent number of copies! I've got his book "The Year of Eating Dangerously" & that's brilliant. He's certainly not afraid of trying new foods. Though apparently he still rates his Mum's (Camilla) roast chicken.

Phil Lowe said...

I've just taken my copy back today Karen so nip down your library and book it. Seems that the author is related to Camilla then Gail's Man.

French Fancy said...

Oh I so miss a library. I've ended up ordering all sorts of books I really can't afford just so I can read - and then of course I think what a waste of money when I've finished it.

I think TPB is Camilla's son - he used to be a bit of a druggie wild boy I think but it seems that good food has redeemed him

Karen said...

I've reserved it with my library today (online facility wouldn't work for me, goodness knows why). I'd be lost - & probably penniless - without my local Library. I read for several hours each day, & though I do buy lots of books, where to keep them is a major problem as I hate getting rid of them. So the libary is invaluable.