Ben Keenan: Confessions of a cookery book addict

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Last week, a charming elderly gentleman demanded to know why there were millions of cookery books on sale in the world but so few dedicated to crown green bowling.

Now, I’ve been a bookseller for 13 years and have read some of the finest books ever published but have never come across anything on crown green bowling.

On a daily basis however, I get to talk to a huge variety of people about different genres of literature but nothing makes me happier than when somebody asks me about cookery books. I am 100 per cent addicted to cookery books and over the last decade have read and skimmed through thousands of them.

There is a moment which occurs, just before I open up a brand new one that makes me imagine I’m in a restaurant somewhere and have just been handed a menu. It’s the moment when the taste buds start to dance and a world of culinary wonder beckons to me with open arms and encourages me to attempt something new and exciting to feed to my family.

The humble cookery book is now a legitimate industry in its own right with TV chefs entering the bestseller lists just hours after their programmes have concluded.

Even the design of cookery books, which long ago were simply lists of ingredients and methods, has evolved and they are now considered coffee table works of art thanks to world-renowned graphic designers and professional photographers who give the reader a feast for the eyes while chef takes care of the rest.

Although I love all kinds of books, the ones filed under Food and Drink give me the most intense pleasure and if it’s been a long time since you’ve read one, please come and find me at Waterstone’s and prepare to be overwhelmed.