Book Readings

Agnes Jekyll (1860-1937) was the supreme hostess: her house was described as "the apogee of opulent comfort and order without grandeur, smelling of pot-pouri, furniture polish and wood smoke". Lady Jekyll, as she became, first published Kitchen Essays in The Times, "in which she was persuaded to pass on some of the wit and wisdom of her rare gift for clever and imaginative housekeeping".  Helen Garlick reads a few of her favourite extracts...

Agnes Jekyll's gift for friendship and organisational skills made her an excellent hostess. Helen Garlick reads three more extracts from Kitchen Essays, published in The Times in 1922, in which Lady Jekyll passes on 'some of the wit and wisdom of her clever and imaginative housekeeping'.

Screenwriter, novelist, award winner, journalist, playwright… just a few of the words that describe the literary careers of James and Kay Salter.  They are also responsible for one of the most delightful musings on food in print, Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Day Book published by Knopf. Whether writing about Peanut Butter, The Sandwich, Samuel Johnson's appetite for good eating or The Siege Of Paris this quirky collection is unequalled in its information, erudition and utter originality. Extracts from the book are read by their son, the actor Theo Salter.

Matthew Fort, one of the judges on The Great British Menu, reads extracts from his highly acclaimed new book Summer in the Islands, published by Unbound. In it, he records his meetings with the people he encountered as he toured the islands of Italy and his thoughts about a country he has loved as his life. Unmissable.

At the age of seven, tired and bewildered after a long journey from England to Syria via Lebanon, Josceline Dimbleby caught her first sight of Damascus from the mountain road. In the extract she has chosen to read from her book of recipes, travels and memories, Orchards in the Oasis,  the magic of her first impressions of her new home are vividly recalled;  the deep red mulberry-stained water in the pool, the sun-warmed apricots, the scented pastries that awoke a lifelong passion for food and flavour.

Here are some wonderfully funny stories from behind the scenes of the catering world; among them the night Leith's nearly caught fire when a dumpy little woman (Princess Margaret, as it happened) ordered roast pheasant, and why Warren Beatty and Julie Christie really wanted to sit under the spotlight. For the very first time, Prue can be heard reading extracts from her autobiography.

Squirrel Pie (and other stories) is the latest in a long list of highly acclaimed publications by artist, journalist and food writer, Elisabeth Luard. Subtitled Adventures in Food Across the Globe, this is indeed an exciting and entertaining journey through forests, over islands and rivers and into deserts, revealing how terrain influences the food we eat as she shares tales and dishes gathered on her travels.

Lord Tebbit isperhaps the only politician everto have written a cookbook, The Game Cook, thanks to a chance conversation in his favourite butcher's shop. Lord Tebbit recently agreed to record a conversation with Anne Dolamore on video for Talking of Food, on how he came to write it. Following their conversation, he recorded two extracts from the book.