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Book Review: The A-Z of Eating, by Felicity Cloake

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Felicity Cloake is funny. Very funny. “If I learnt anything of lasting value at university”, she writes, “it was the beauty of chips and cheese”. She describes rich tea biscuits as “criminally underrated.” When adding marmite as an umami injector, she recommends that it is “best done behind closed doors.”

So, if it was just the gags and witticisms that defined The A-Z of Eating, Ms Cloake’s new book, then she would be home with gas in the tank. But, this A-Z is also blessed with wickedly imaginative, versatile and international food. If you follow Felicity’s weekly Guardian column, you will know how thorough and inquisitive a cook she is. But she’s also a demon with the jokes, so here is an A-Z that includes J for Junk, Q for Quiver, and T for Toast.

Last night we made the crispy Vietnamese pork and prawn pancakes, and they were wizard. The green herb cauliflower tabblouleh is one of the best things to do with cauliflower. The red-braised pork is the simplest path to porky deliciousness. In fact, everything in the book screams out “Cook me! And enjoy it!”

And you will, you most certainly will. And you will laugh as well. The A-Z of Eating is a masterly piece of work, and a book not to be missed.

Penguin/Fig Tree €32.

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