Review: Cooking With Heroes

The Royal British Legion is marking 100 years (1921-2021) with a new cookbook featuring recipes by personnel with contributions from, celebrity cooks and chefs.

The first thing to say about Cooking With Heroes is that it’s a very ambitious book at 470 pages. A tome both in terms of content and weight, it requires both hands to hold it up to read. The recipes appear by regions from Armagh to Zimbabwe, Essex to The Gambia, and Hampshire to New Zealand. There are favourites (Hello, Welsh rarebit!) and posh fish ‘n’ chips and other recipes, for instance, potato and apple bread, contributed by Chief Petty Officer John Potts, Royal Navy (Retired). Add to the mix personal stories, snippets of history and stunning photography and the wide appeal of this book will solve many Christmas gift shopping dilemmas. Or add it to your own Letter to Santa.

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This week… bread and circus

Another odd week in an age of odd times. In addition to the gods’ conspiracy to thwart travel writers with lockdowns, complicated travel guidelines and such-like, now there’s the fuel delivery shortage. After trying around eight stations (I lost count, and almost the will to live, after four) I queued for an hour to fill up. Having expected a wait of a couple of hours I thought that was reasonable (how mad can things get?).

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Goring Beaach June

This week… name dropping Rick Stein, Cecil Beaton and Napoleon

What is it about a celebrity name that grabs a headline? Celebrity status has been around since forever. Rome’s first emperor Caesar Augustus knew the power of endorsement back in ancient Rome, adding his image to coinage that circulated around the vast territories. His personal ‘brand’ mimicked Alexander the Great by adopting an eternally youthful clean-shaven image, with a carefully ruffled ‘fringe’ (or bangs, if you’re a US reader, Hello!). This week the industry has rallied together with their favourite celebrities to entice us all out of lockdown.

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This week… under lockdown (thirteen)

Another interesting week in the new social landscape. I’ve been under lockdown solo since it all began and this week a PPE-clad engineer came to carry out the annual boiler service, the first person to enter my apartment since March. He seemed as nervous as I was. I also spent four days without internet connection, so this visit was quickly followed by another engineer to fix the broadband. I began to wonder how on earth people coped during the Black Death. While they didn’t have to concern themselves with luxuries like running hot water and internet connection in the 14th century, there must be many similarities to today’s pandemic.

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