Sally Burton

One day as I was reviewing this book in London, I happened to turn on the television, only to discover that BBC One now features three hours of cooking programs on Saturday mornings – very appropriate when one is reading a biography of the woman who changed American eating habits. When you are not watching the likes of Michel Roux demonstrating how quickly he can make an omelette, there are clips from a Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson show.

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That Barbara Santich has a vast knowledge and understanding of her subject is evident in every vivid and informative page of Bold Palates. The writer sets out to prove that, from the earliest colonial days, Australians improvised and adapted the available food, be it local or imported, familiar or new, and in so doing created the foundation for the distinctive Australian food culture we know today. A huge amount of research has been undertaken in the compilation of this book. It was clearly a productive and joyful task.

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Charles Drazin tells us that his interest in French cinema began as a student at Oxford in the early 1980s, when he attended screenings at the Maison Française, an institution established after World War II to encourage cultural exchange between Britain and France. Some of the films were obscure, some better known; the audience comprised devotees and newcomers who never quite knew what they were going to see. The free admission, the 16 mm projector, the portable screen fixed to a tripod, even the scraping of chairs on wooden floors contributed to the sense of occasion for the young cinéastes.

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