Friday 3 June 2011

Let the food speak for itself

Sicilia in Bocca by Franca Colanno Romano

The page spreads of Sicilia in Boca  are an abject lesson in the possibilities and inspirational quality of cookery books without photographs. The highly mediated and stylised images produced for most cookery books set an almost unachievable bar for most cooks to reach. The images can indeed inspire but they can also alienate as the high production values used to create them are not the criteria followed by most of us in the kitchen. Food is manipulated to please the publisher and sell books as opposed to being a "true" representation of how a particular dish appears. How many of us have followed a recipe to the letter only to be sorely disappointed that our food appears nothing like the beautiful image in the book?

Illustrated cookery books do just that - they illustrate an element, convey a feeling, an essence of the recipe - they leave the end result to the cook. Experience and practice are two key elements to cooking - as with any other craft you hone your skill and develop your technique to create your own highly personalised version and so let the food speak for itself, the images tell another story.

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