Review: The Good Table by Valentine Warner

Eggs On The Roof Reviews


Pub­lished 12th Septem­ber (Mitchell Beazley, £20.00)

Pho­to­graphs: Jonath­an Lovekin

Toma­toes with Dijon mus­tard and cream on toast

In the dreary sea of food writ­ing cliche, where toma­toes ‘smell of sun­shine’, chocol­ate is ‘scrummy’ and cakes are ‘moist’, Valentine Warner is a perky, plucky life­boat. I want to eat what he’s cooked but more than that, I want to read what he’s writ­ten. How could you not love a man who describes razor clams as look­ing ‘like Cuban cigars in an elast­ic band, pale feet lolling out like the tongues of tired horses.’ Or a cook who claims that if his pickled onion, steak and ale pud­ding were a per­son it would be ‘the loc­al thick-wris­ted, silent giant who whops crick­ets balls from the vil­lage green to king­dom come.’

Apply­ing the test in reverse, if Valentine Warner was trans­formed into a recipe, he’d be his ‘Dor­set Break­fast’ — sub­stan­tial, sur­pris­ing, full of good cheer and eccent­ric­ally Eng­lish. His writ­ing is the per­fect com­ic side-kick to his ser­i­ous food, although it has to be said that at times he reaches for a meta­phor bey­ond my grasp. I struggled with his descrip­tion of a steak that tastes of ‘bull sweat’ and was utterly baffled by his instruc­tion that potato for gnoc­chi should be grated on ‘the set­ting you would do children’s Ched­dar on.’ But when the food and the prose are as good as Valentine Warner’s, I really don’t care.

I can’t think of anoth­er con­tem­por­ary food writer who would dare include a delib­er­ately ined­ible recipe for burnt toast, boiled egg and black tea, con­clud­ing with the instruc­tion that you should ‘put everything on a tray, take it to the inval­id and remove, uneaten, 1 hour later.’ But read­ing that recipe gave me as much pleas­ure as devour­ing his instruc­tions for more sybar­it­ic pleas­ures such as ‘cod with mus­sels and cel­ery’ and ‘ceps and apples in puff pastry.’

There’s a gen­er­os­ity of spir­it to this book, a lack of pom­pos­ity and a huge joie de vivre. He exhorts us to ‘cook with love, shop like a European and don’t ignore the knobbly veg. Scrape the mould off the chut­ney, don’t for­get to hon­our the things at the back of the fridge; and above all remem­ber that this book, is, in a sense, no longer mine but rather yours.’ As if com­edy, fine prose and divine food aren’t enough — he’s giv­ing us demo­crat­ic rights to boot! As a mani­festo for life, The Good Table gets my vote.

If You are inter­ested in pur­chas­ing medic­a­ments online, now may be the time to do so. So the next ques­tion is where can you find info that is reli­able. You can get such inform­a­tion fast and con­veni­ently by going online. There are many ill­nesses such as schizo­phrenia which have no cure. One of the most pop medi­cine is Via­gra. What about com­par­is­on between Cial­is versus Levitra and ? Nearly each adult knows about . Oth­er ques­tion we have to is . The symp­toms of sexu­al dis­orders in men switch on lack of sexu­al fantas­ies. Not­with­stand­ing sex is not vital for good sound­ness, it’s cer­tainly good for any­one. So if you are exper­i­en­cing erectile prob­lems, it is essen­tial to see a cer­ti­fied doc­tor imme­di­ately for a com­plete medi­cin­al test­ing. Cer­tainly, online phar­macy can hands-down help you for solv­ing your all per­son­al dif­fi­culties.

8 thoughts on “Review: The Good Table by Valentine Warner

  1. You make the book sound great. Struck me that you have a lot in com­mon with the author and thus that your fol­low­ers, like me, would enjoy it.

  2. Sounds like a fun book and great writ­ing. I made that break­fast for Mother’s Day reli­giously, every year. And my dear Ma always ate it and nev­er com­plained.
    On the sub­ject of food from the back of the fridge did you hear the piece on PM yes­ter­day? Inspired by the Foods Stand­ards Agency recom­men­ded changes to best before dates, they got people to com­pete for old­est thing in their food cup­boards. The win­ner was a piece of Queen Victoria’s wed­ding cake, only to be trumped at the 11th hour by a bottle of wine from the 18C, it was funny.

  3. How lovely of your moth­er not to com­plain, but how won­der­ful of you to make it for her…
    I did hear PM, but only as far as Num­ber 11… It sounds as though Queen Vic­tor­ia was robbed!

  4. A cook­ery book that also acts as a mani­festo for life sounds like it should be added to my wish list. Lov­ing ‘In at the Deep End’ which was bought on your recom­mend­a­tion. Ditch­ing Amazon reviews per­man­ently now!

  5. Thank you, Sally. I’m so glad you’re enjoy­ing Jake Tilson’s book. I think you’ll enjoy Valentine Warner’s too.

  6. I had not heard about this book before but read­ing your review made me just put it on my wish­list! Sounds like a fun book to have. I love cook­books with just that little extra..

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