Book Review: Diana Henry: Simple (Mitchell Beazley)
Something strange is happening to Diana Henry.
She’s becoming famous.
Famous as in big New York Times colour articles. Famous as in James Beard awards. Famous as in 92nd Street Y public discussions.
Famous, like. Like Nigella, or Mario Batali, or Ottolenghi.
Don’t worry, though. Diana Henry is from Norn Iron. It won’t change her a bit.
Mind you, it’s about time she became famous. It should have started fifteen years ago, where her first book, “Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons” signalled the arrival of a woman who cooked like a demon, and wrote like an angel. And through those fifteen years, Ms Henry has produced book after book, all of them written to stellar standards, all of them revealing a cook with a seemingly inexhaustible creativity: Ms Henry will write a recipe, and then annotate it with three different riffs on the same theme, on the same page. Her creativity is torrential.
Her newest book – the subject of the big NY Times piece – is called “Simple”, but it’s not. The food is uncomplicated, but only because Ms Henry has so thoroughly assimilated and then refined all her newest ideas. She has pared them down, so you don’t have to. And, like all her work, “Simple” reveals someone who loves her work, and who isn’t the slightest bit precious or snobbish about it, whether it’s Goan fish curry or baked sausages with apples or toast.
“Simple” is another masterwork, and will enrich your life.