"The great British Culinary Renaissance has done many things — given us extra virgin oil, better restaurants and gastroporn — but it hasn't taught us how to cook."
—Nigella Lawson

How To Eat is a book that does. Firmly rooted in home cooking, part culinary manifesto and part evocation of the pleasures of eating, it has over three hundred and fifty recipes. More than that, it encourages us to see cooking in context and to acquire our own individual sense of what food is about. It covers kitchen basics, fast food, feeding small children, cooking for one and two, weekend lunches, low-fat food and both everyday and more demanding dinners. To counteract the chaos of modern life, it helps us plot menus, and gives kitchen survival strategies and tactical advice on cooking in advance and last-minute eating.At its heart, How To Eat is about a feeling for food, a book to be read as well as from which to cook. Unique, invaluable, comprehensive, this is a celebration of good food and an engagingly conversational vade-mecum for the kitchen.

Excerpt

Fried Prawn Cakes

250 g fresh raw prawns
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
2 spring onions, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon salt
60 g plain flour
4 teaspoons sherry
olive oil

Shell and mince the prawns. Mix or blend them with the garlic, spring onions, salt, flour, sherry and enough water to make a batter. Let stand, covered with clingfilm, for 1 hour. Then fry, in drops of 1 teaspoon, in olive oil (though not extra virgin) poured to a depth of 5cm in a pan, for about a minute each side.

To serve, add some lime juice and chopped coriander to a bowlful of Hellman's. (Normally I can't see why everyone is so keen on the stuff, but it lends itself well to this kind of adulteration; anyway, fried fish cakes of this sort seem to be able to handle the peculiar emulsification of factory-made mayo.) Or just squeeze the prawn patties with fresh lime as you eat them.
Publisher: Chatto & Windus