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John McKenna reviews Weekend Chef from Catherine Fulvio

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Catherine Fulvio's fourth cookery book is subtitled “Easy food for lazy days”, and there is no better person for making cooking seem easy than Mrs Fulvio. When she did a demo earlier in the year at Electric Picnic, she made a pasta dish from scratch, all the while chatting away, telling stories, charming the audience, whilst she made the pasta, kneaded the pasta, rolled the pasta, cooked the pasta, made the sauce, finished the dish and thanked the audience. She never, in any sense, broke sweat: it was as if she was cooking in her own kitchen, listening to the radio, all the while making something that many people would find extremely challenging.
But that is the thing about Mrs Fulvio: she is prodigiously talented. The food in her book is rendered easy because to her it is easy. Her capaciousness simplifies things to their essence, so that all of the recipes are concise, and involve no more than is absolutely necessary: do this, then this, then this, there you go. Sometimes she will even have a couple or more recipes on a single page, and many of them are extremely concise. It is easy food, because she can make it easy: she knows supper and she knows Sunday lunch, she knows feeding children and she knows how to make a bhaji for that curry night.She also has very good taste in music: just reading the song suggestions that head up each chapter reveals someone who could be a dj or a music writer. No sweat.

John McKenna

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