This book was bought for me by a friend. She had read a pre-release review and immediately thought of me. Now I’m not sure if I should be offended or not. Greedy, moi? Surely not. I’ve decided it was obviously the book’s “memoir of food, family, film and fashion” subtitle that made her think of me rather than my penchant for anything edible. Whichever it was, I’m so glad she did because this is a marvelous book. So marvelous in fact that I read it in a day — and I haven’t done that with any book for some time.
For those of you who don’t know (and I didn’t), Kay Plunkett-Hogge is a food and drink writer of some acclaim, having written other books of her own, and has co-written with other foodie writers. She regularly writes about cocktails for the Daily Telegraph and Sainsburys’ Magazine.
“With a dry martini in hand Kay Plunkett-Hogge looks back at the happy accidents, regrettable errors and unexpected opportunities that led to a career as a food and drink writer, via stints in the worlds of fashion and film. She shares 25 delicious recipes she discovered along the way, from her grandmother’s apple crumble to sashimi with Thai salsa verde”
Despite coming from fairly humble beginnings, Kay’s fathers job took him to Thailand. He and his South London born wife went on to settle and bring up their two daughters in Thailand, under the shadow of the Vietnam war. Growing up in 70s Bangkok, Kay spent her childhood between two kitchens: inside for Western food, outside for Thai. She developed a love of food; the eating, the preparation and the sharing — all of which has gone on to shape her life and much of what she has done since. She worked for some time as a model booker and went on to set up a bespoke location catering service for the fashion business. She has lived in Brooklyn, New York, where she discovered the best place to find the freshest sea food in China town. She lived in LA and discovered the importance of going out on a limb and trying combinations that might seem odd at first but which her gut told her would work. She also learned about cooking by trusting her memory and imagination and using her palate as a guide.
“Peacock Kale, I’ll sauté that with garlic and pine nuts. Then there are those big scaly avocados and smaller smooth ones being sold for 50 cents to a buck each, ready to be mashed into guacamole or churned into ice cream with peptise and chilli. Green tomatoes or tomatillos – I’ll make salsa with those or slice them and dip them in cornmeal, and fry them crisp to serve with a fat pungent aioli. Heirloom tomatoes grown by an elderly Italian couple with seeds brought back from their homeland in the 1940’s – huge and gnarled and almost black but tasting as only tomatoes grown with love and ripened by the sun can taste. Theres no other place my imagination can take me with those than to make a rich deep tomato sauce to pop in the freezer for quick pastas”
I defy anyone to read this and not want to either cook or eat — or preferably both. The night I finished reading this I made Poulet Noir dans son Jus — chicken cooked in a casserole in the oven with carrots, onion leek, and a bulb of garlic alongside a few herbs. It all turns out meltingly tender (and even more delicious when served with a silky buttery white wine jus). I have also marked avocado ice cream and a Thai burger as recipes I feel I have to try.
I also defy anyone to read this and not want to travel. I’m not someone that needs any persuasion at all to travel. I’ll travel at any opportunity and have had the good fortune to visit lots of places all over the world. However; I have not (yet) visited Thailand. Not because I don’t want to — I really do — and having read this book, I really, really do. I always felt that I wanted to spend more than a standard 2 week holiday there; and although I still hold to that, I’m not sure now, having read this book, that I can wait much longer…
There’s lots of joy in this book; a joy in food, a joy in family and friends, and a joy in life. Kay is someone who seems to grasp life. She doesn’t miss an opportunity to discover new foods or places; and she never seems afraid to say yes.
“Adventures of a Terribly Greedy Girl is about the benefits of letting your curiosity trump your good sense”
I couldn’t agree more.
About The Author
Kay Plunkett-Hogge is an acclaimed food and drinks writer, and the author of Adventures Of A Terribly Greedy Girl (Mitchell Beazley, 2017), A Sherry And A Little Plate Of Tapas (Mitchell Beazley, 2016), Heat: Cooking With Chillies (Quercus, 2016) and Make Mine A Martini (Mitchell Beazley, 2014).
In addition to her own books, Kay has co-authored a further six books, working with the award-winning chef Bryn Williams on his two books Bryn’s Kitchen and For The Love Of Veg, Academy Award nominated actor Stanley Tucci on his second cookbook The Tucci Table, and with the American pizza guru Chris Bianco. She also co-wrote Leon: Family and Friends with John Vincent and Cook Yourself Thin: Quick and Easy.
Article by Angela Vincent Of Changing Pages | The Black Lion is a humble interdisciplinary journal that values your voice. Visit the submissions page to learn more about submitting to the Journal’s sections or to The Wire’s Dream Magazine. | Copyright Policy
Header image from Changing Pages. Author image and bio from author website. Author image by J.P. Masclet.