No nonsense in the kitchen

I rather bristle at newspaper column collections. They strike me as a bit lazy, a cheat’s way of getting another book under the belt, often just in time for the gift-giving season. When it comes to Rachel Cooke’s Kitchen Person, however, I have to eat my words. It draws from the 14 years of monthly food columns Cooke wrote for the Observer from 2009. Each comes with a postscript from the author looking back on her thoughts at the time, ensuring that the pieces hold their own as a collection, as something cohesive. You sit down to read one essay, and look up 75 pages later. The tone, too, is

The women who changed American cuisine forever

What is ‘immigrant food’? In America, the answer can be just about anything — from burritos to bibimbap to burgers. In a country shaped by immigrants, there is little else but immigrant food. But while some food cultures are firmly embedded in the American mainstream, well-mixed into the fabled ‘melting pot’, others are not. This is ever-changing: a few decades ago the ubiquity of sushi, for example, would have been unthink-able. Is this a good thing? It depends who you ask. Assimilation can bring belonging, but also compromise. Greater knowledge and appreciation of different food cultures doesn’t just happen. People make it happen. Mayukh Sen’s Taste Makers examines the lives

The rise of Zoom cooking: which classes to try online

Pasta proficiency from Italy, noodle knowledge from Thailand, dumpling education from Georgia, taco tips from Mexico. We might have lost something in the intimacy, the sociability, the hands-on help when it comes to virtual cooking courses, but what we have gained is access to culinary masters from ardour the world, encompassing an extraordinary diversity of cuisines and techniques. There are plenty to get stuck into, but here are a few of the best, taking your tastebuds and your techniques from Tbilisi to Koh Tao. Pasta with an Italian Nonna For the last few years, on the outskirts of Rome, Nonna Nerina has been initiating cooking enthusiasts into the art of