I've been involved in food pornography for quite a while now. Not in a weird "where can I stick that carrot?" kind of way but more in the fact that I can spend hours paging through cookbooks admiring recipes and photographs. Food writing, food styling and food photography are skills that I admire greatly and my collection of cookbooks grows monthly as a result. With this in mind, I've had a mini-epiphany. I'm going to add a "cookbook" tag to the blog where I can write about my favourites. I figure this could be really helpful if you guys are looking to get something for yourselves or as a gift. There are so many books out there at the moment so hopefully I can point you in the right direction and show you which ones are worthwhile.
We kick things off with Marlene Van Der Westhuizen's second book, Sumptuous. Van Der Westhuizen is a trained chef who splits her time between Green point, Cape Town and Charroux, France (all together now...shaaaaaame). Yeah, I know. Sounds kak. Anyway, she spends her time in both homes cooking for students in a style she describes as 'brasserie luxe' which basically means uncomplicated food that celebrates quality produce. A style that by now you should know I absolutely love. As well as cooking classes, Marlene rents her food studio out for private functions - Pafoof once invited top-end clients to Marlene's place for dinner where she hosted an interactive dinner. By all accounts it was amazing. Anyway, this book shows glimpses of Marlene's life in both kitchens. Each chapter begins with a description of some of her inspirations at the time (markets, sunflowers, gates, antiques, vines etc) and is supported with breathtaking photography. The way the book is shot makes you want to book a ticket tomorrow and start travelling and Gerda Genis (the photographer) deserves all the accolades she has achieved throughout a hugely successful career.
Recipe-wise, the dishes are practical and as a result I would recommend the book to basically anyone. If you are an average cook, a hopeless cook, a brilliant cook or just someone who appreciates creativity and beautiful production you should check it out.