I’ll tell you How to be a Better Foodie. Get a better job, one that allows you to afford all this stuff, yet which doesn’t stop you from shopping for it whenever you feel like it. Freelance food writer would be a good one.
Hah sorry Sudi, just my little joke, you know me. And I do know Sudi and she knows her stuff to a frightening degree. Sudi is a natural bon viveur, always cheerful and always gleefully passing on info about some new restaurant or some new ingredient. This book is her in a nutshell, well-informed and yet never patronising and with plenty of good jokes thrown in. Taken all at once it could give you acid indigestion as you sadly come to the realisation that you’ll probably never go to any these places or eat a quarter of these lovely things, but at least after reading it you can food-bluff for England and reduce dinner table chatter to awed silence any time you feel like it.
Dive in and discover the various forms of rice and which brands are best. Look sharp and hear which kind of cooking knives the pros pick up, learn that with a bottle of Armando Manni’s ultra expensive olive oil in your larder (which must be located on a North facing wall we are told) you can purr like the cat that got the cream. There’s so much to learn and so much to eat and drink in the world that this book becomes an itinerary of things to consume and places to go to consume them. The only tricky bit is working out those occasions when Sudi’s tutored tongue is actually in her cheek.
Here you’ll find a refreshing alternative to the Rough Guide books. No hair shirt mentality, no Evian-clutching sanctimony in sight, instead it’s a guide to where to spend your money when abroad on deserving, though probably already rich, restaurateurs, producers and winemakers. Plus tips on how to get all your booty back to the UK in one piece -it can be very depressing to see your suitcase coming down the carousel trailing a wide slick of that single estate virgin olive oil you bought in La Marche not twelve hours ago. Forget clothes, pack bubble wrap I say.
The overall effect of this book is to inspire you to do better and to give you the knowledge to achieve it. With chapters on the Foodie in restaurants, out and about with the better Foodie, how the Foodie entertains and the Foodie finer levels, I learnt a lot and now use it as a ‘wish list’ to plan trips to specialist shops just as much as trips to Waitrose. I may not be a better foodie as a result but I’m certainly much better than I was. Right now I fancy some chips sprinkled with Sel de Guerande stuffed into a baguette from Paul’s the bakers in Wimbledon and slathered with the best unsalted butter, let me just loosen my belt a notch first though. Better foodie means bigger waist.