Food & wine books: the great disconnect
Spent half an hour in Waterstone's today browsing the cookery section to see what's new.
Judging from the sheer space dedicated to the category, it must be something of a national pastime, buying cookbooks from which to gain inspiration.
Whether it's by chef, country and region, or type of food, the literally hundreds of choices give lots of food for thought (sorry).
I'd guess for a great many people who own collections of such books, the meals they cook are eaten with wine; after all, the two are made for each other.
Strange then that the "wine section" isn't really a section at all; blink and you'll miss it under the generic "drinks" heading.
So whilst writing about food and recipe books explode faster than popcorn, wine writing, at least in book form, is virtually extinct.
But actually it's books that got us started, and if you know where to look they're still out there. Here are our pick of the best you can still find.
Andrew Jefford's Wine Course - this came out in '08 and is now out of print, but is available on Amazon second hand for as little as 1p. His writing (you can tell he read Literature) makes him ever-so readable, and his knowledge is worth taking in.
Jancis Robinson's Wine Tasting Workbook - don't let the "workbook" bit put you off; this is still one of the very best ways to get your head around tasting wine, without having to take exams and at your own pace. Again out of print, and again can be picked up second hand on Amazon for as little as 1p.
The Oxford Companion to Wine - the ultimate reference book, with the benefit that Jancis Robinson is the editor, and each new edition is rigorously updated (not just a new cover). The fourth edition comes out next month, and could well be the best £26 you'll ever spend on learning about wine.
Wine Science - Jamie Goode started out being fascinated by wine just like you or me; however with a PhD in Plant Biology his curiosity soon led him to examine the ins-and-outs of why wines taste different. This is a superb introduction to the fascinating science behind wine and vine; not at all "geeky" or difficult to read, it's indispensable reading. At £9.99 on Kindle, a bargain.