Dishoom's Shamil Thakrar Recommends His Favourite Reads of 2019
As co-author of the divine Dishoom, Shamil Thakrar created one of the most sumptuous and immersive cookbooks of the year. In this article he recommends the recipe guides that have made his mouth water over the past twelve months, as well as revealing the non-cookery related volumes that he will be sharing or hoping to receive this Christmas.
Ella Rusbridger’s writing is brave and honest and beautiful and moving, and the illustrations bring it to life. This book made me cry, made me smile, lifted my heart and helped me with some cooking, too. I’m indebted.
I love this series. My wife Saloni is vegetarian and we’ve had delicious weeknight suppers from the Green Roasting Tin book. (The beetroot tarts are first-class!) This book does exactly what it says on the tin (sorry) - chop stuff up, perhaps mix it a bit, shove it in a roasting tin, put tin in oven, and enjoy! Buy it for your time-starved friend who can’t cook or doesn’t have time to cook. Buy them a nice enamel roasting tin too. They’ll love you for it.
The Lost Orchard is a cookbook, but it also a lyrical and loving history, an ode to the English orchard. Mr. Blanc transports you to his beautiful Oxfordshire garden where, amongst the trees he reveals himself to be as joyful a gardener as he is a chef.
St John is a legendary culinary institution. I am sure that this book will be treasured as a bible of British food for decades to come. Aside from capturing the recipes and stories of one of my favourite restaurants, I love the book’s celebration of the joy of breaking (absolutely first-rate) bread together. The St John books are also the some of the most beautifully written cookbooks there are. Even reading the cooking instructions gives me joy.
Nigel Slater’s writing is a delight. I feel that this book is to cookery books what haiku is to poetry. It is elegant and evocative and strong. The collection of wonderful everyday recipes will become a go-to for simple, satisfying dinners.
A Le Carre book is a such an enormous pleasure. George Smiley is like an old and dear friend to me, and I often find myself missing his company. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is surely the best spy novel ever written. This book is set not in the 1960s but today, in the time of Brexit and Trump, and I hear it is thrilling and masterful. I’m looking forward to pouring myself a decently large glass of single malt and settling back into my armchair with this.
I have deep gratitude to the author for writing this. I have already given it to a few people. It has a few simple words with a few simple and beautiful drawings, which have moved me to tears and given me courage. It is a kind, generous and powerful book.
What a wonderful book. I was gripped. I will be giving it to a few people this Christmas. This is the story of the Salmon / Gluckstein business dynasty, which starts in 1808 in Germany and spans the next two centuries. From a family of poor Jewish immigrants in a small flat in Whitechapel in Victorian London rolling cigarettes to sell and battling poverty and anti-semitism all the way through five generations to a business empire including the largest catering company in the UK.
My wife and I are raising three little supergirls and it has made my heart sing that they have inherited my insatiable appetite for reading and stories. There are 50 little stories in this book, so it should keep them satisfied and maybe even inspired for a bedtime or two.
The East India Company is an important part of my history as a Brit of Indian origin. My family would of course not have washed up here if the Raj had not existed. The Company was a rapacious capitalist power controlling armies and territories, aggressively focused on making its stockholders in London wealthy beyond reckoning. Dalrymple is a thoughtful and sensitive historian. I’m looking forward to reading this. It feels important.
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