Helen Simpson

Money for Jam

The Food of Love

By Guislaine Morland

Chatto & Windus 268pp £12.95 order from our bookshop

Feasts

By Christopher Bland and Linda Kelly

Constable 268pp £12.95 order from our bookshop

Guislaine Morland’s autobiographical recipe book, The Food of Love, takes the first year of her second divorce as its subject, thus promising some sort of narrative structure – farewell banquets, new friends, sensual comforts and so on. In January she has a transatlantic affair but describes only the jet lag; in February an old friend tells her she is ‘a brave and lovely woman’, and she makes him a stew of pork fillet and maple syrup. Also in February, she has several days in bed with ‘flu, and describes them at length (‘I hadn’t been bedridden for years, it felt uncomfortable, nor had I ever had a real bout of ‘flu, a term so often used for a bad cold, but quite different, as I discovered,’ and so on). There is interminable talk of journeys hither and thither, her children go skiing, an Italian friend comes to stay, and there is a long anecdote about how her cafetiere once exploded when she pressed the plunger down too soon.

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