Further Adventures In Search Of Perfection – Heston Blumenthal
Bloomsbury/BBC – 2007
Photography: Andy Sewell
Alright then – time for a bit of honesty. I was fully expecting to hate this book. I didn’t, not even a little bit. I loved it. I will say that it is not a recipe book by any stretch of the imagination, there are only eight recipes in it (although each has many component parts) and most of them take the best part of a day to make. I am never going to make any of the recipes in this book. I like a good hamburger but I am not going to spend 33 hours (33!) making one. So a different approach to reviewing this…
First off, yet again, I am reading book two first. I have a staggering ability to always miss book one of a series. I don’t think this was any disadvantage – Blumenthal occasionally references book one but not in any way that hampers reading of this book.
Now, here is the thing that amazed me most: I read this book cover to cover. I can’t remember the last time I read every single word of a cookery book. It’s not a recipe book but it is all about the food. Each recipe takes about 40 pages and there is a history, plus lots of detail on the research that went into the final product, all of the testing and then a *very* long recipe.
Some of the component parts of the recipes I will take note of, such as Blumenthal’s way of preparing an acid butter, but mostly the recipes were the least interesting part of this foodie book. It has made me very keen to get my hands on more of his less technical recipe books.
The writing in here is wonderful, it is clearly connected to the television series of the same name (which I didn’t watch – not a fan of TV really) but that rarely impinges on the style. Each story is easy to read and compelling, something very impressive for a cookery book. The recipes he chose to look at were well varied and made for interesting stories and where he came across a hitch in the plan it was all written down honestly.
A hugely original book, all about the journey to find the food rather than simply the recipes themselves. Not great if you want to replenish your stock of recipes but a wonderfully fulfilling read that I would recommend to all foodies.
Off to find book one…