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The Pedant in the Kitchen
   

The Pedant's ambition is simple. He wants to cook tasty, nutritious food; he wants not to poison his friends; and he wants to expand, slowly and with pleasure, his culinary repertoire. A stern critic of himself and others, he knows he is never going to invent his own recipes (although he might, in a burst of enthusiasm, occasionally increase the quantity of a favourite ingredient). Rather, he is a recipe-bound follower of the instructions of others.

It is in his interrogations of these recipes, and of those who create them, that the Pedant's true pedantry emerges. How big, exactly, is a 'lump'? Is a 'slug' larger than a 'gout'? When does a 'drizzle' become a downpour? And what is the difference between slicing and chopping?

This book is a witty and practical account of Julian Barnes' search for gastronomic precision. It is a quest that leaves him seduced by Jane Grigson, infuriated by Nigel Slater; charmed by the recipes of Edouard de Pomiane; and reassured by Mrs Beeton's Victorian virtues. The Pedant in the Kitchen is a perfect comfort for anyone who has ever been defeated by a cookbook.

  Available for purchase from Amazon.co.uk, Waterstones, Foyles, and Independent booksellers.

English Editions (View Translations)

The Pedant in the Kitchen. London: Atlantic Books, 2003. £9.99. Print run: 15,000.

The Pedant in the Kitchen. London: Atlantic Books, 2004. Pp. 136. [Paperback].

The Pedant in the Kitchen. London: Atlantic Books, 2012. [Reissued in hardback].

 

[Right: First hardback edition of The Pedant in the Kitchen containing 17 colour illustrations by Joe Berger.]


Reviews

Bearn, Emily. 'From Flaubert to Flambe.' Sunday Telegraph (London), 12 October 2003: 3. [Interview]

Rumbold, Judy. 'What Jamie Could Teach Julian.' The Guardian (London), 15 October 2003: 5.

Taylor, Alan. 'Simple Recipes Should Be Made to Measure.' The Sunday Herald, 19 October 2003: 11.

Caplan, Nina. 'Barnes's Tasty New Recipe.' London Evening Standard, 21 October 2003.

Beachcomber. '86 Years Old and Still Cooking Up a Treat.' The Express, 22 October 2003: 44.

Goring, Rosemary. 'The Blurb: The Pedant in the Kitchen.' The Herald (Glasgow), 25 October 2003: 7.

Davidson, Max. 'Flaubert's Carrots.' Sunday Telegraph (London), 26 October 2003: 15.

Fort, Matthew. 'Too Much of a Good Thing.' The Observer, 2 November 2003: 15.

Foulkes, Caroline. 'Triumph of Ambition Over Ability.' Birmingham Post, 15 November 2003: 47.

Pownall, Elfreda. 'Receipts and Recipes.' The Spectator, 15 November 2003: 55.

Blundell, Nellie. 'Consuming Passion.' Time Out, 19 November 2003: 49 [Brief Q&A with Julian Barnes about a number of culinary issues].

Greenwood, Helen. 'Take Two Blokes, Add Wit To Taste.' Sydney Morning Herald, 29 November 2003: 12 [Also reviews Nigel Slater's The Story of a Boy's Hunger].

Fussell, Anne. 'Simply a Recipe for Trouble.' Courier Mail (Queensland, Australia), 29 November 2003: M07.

Jakeman, Jane. 'The Best Possible Taste.'TLS 5253 (5 December 2003): 29.

Hewitson, Michele. 'Julian Barnes: The Pedant in the Kitchen.' New Zealand Herald, 17 February 2004.

Phillips, Graeme. 'Ingredients for a Great Read.' Sunday Tasmanian (Australia), 14 March 2004: 47.

Robinson, Zoé. 'Recipe's Right for Kitchen Phobic.'Newcastle Chronicle & Journal, 20 April 2004: 2.

Lewis, Roger. "Why Cooking by the Book Is Always a Recipe for Disaster." Daily Mail, 23 August 2012.

Markwell, Lisa. "The recipe for clarified meaning." The Independent, 9 September 2012.

 
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Last update: 5November 2012
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