Anyone looking for cook books this Christmas should head straight to Glasgow’s Word of Mouth. Catherine Fellows got there first.
When [an Murray realised that he had accumulated a personal collection of 500 cookery books, he decided to do something about his obsession. That was three years ago, and he now owns and single-handedly runs Scotland’s only specialist cookery book shop. Word of Mouth stocks over 1500 titles, three times the number of the average large cookery section and, whereas the high street stores deal almost exclusively in recent publications, here, as well as your Keith Floyds and Delia Smiths, you can find backlist editions, exclusive imports, second-hand copies, and even the odd antiquarian gem. His current prize item is a well-thumbed cook’s manual from the 18th century, which apart from the printed recipes for the boiling of coneys and the stuffing of fowl, has
hair-raising herbal remedies
hand-written in faded brown ink over the frontispiece.
But it is not just the unrivalled selection of books that Word of Mouth’s increasing number of regular customers come for. The elegant little shop, with its large picture windows, wooden ﬂoor and Radio 4 sounding from the small radio on the counter, has become something of a focus for Glaswegian food enthusiasts and professionals. There is a stand of high quality olive oils and balsamic Vinegars, there are regular talks on culinary subjects such as bread making and deer farming, but above all, there is Murray himself, always on hand to give advice to those who drop in. In fact, he offers something of a
Word Di Mouth stocks three times the number oi boks in the average large cookerysection.
FLAVOUR OF THE FORTNIGHT
consultative service to Glasgow’s chefs, who, he is pleased to say, are ever on the look out for new ideas. One such walked in when I was in the shop, and was a little taken aback to be instantly recognised by Murray, who had made it his business to eat at his recently opened Papareno Restaurant in Sauchiehall Street. This restaurateur’s request for a book on Cajun cooking came only minutes after Murray had told me that, whereas last year Thai cuisine was the favoured source of inspiration, at the moment the city’s chefs are heavily into Southern and Central American food. ‘In fact,’ says the guru, when his customer has left, armed with useful suggestions, ‘he’s a bit late; they are moving on.’ Murray’s latest enthusiasm is the light, eclectic style of California, and
I will be surprised if there aren’t interpretations of it on menus all over Glasgow very soon. Several books he particularly recommends, for their discerning inventiveness, are The Greens Cookbook and The Savoury Way, by Deborah Madison of Greens, San Francisco’s celebrated vegetarian restaurant, and City Cuisine, a very stylish tome , also by restaurant chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Los Angeles’s City Restaurant. They draw on European cooking, and the rich variety of ethnic traditions concentrated on the West Coast, to produce very tasty, refreshing food.
Murray cites these titles to refute my suggestion that the market is glutted with mediocre books. ‘After fiction, more cookery and food-related books are published annually than any other category,’ he says, ‘and sure, many of them should never reach the shelves, but that is so in all areas of publishing. It is true that there are few to rival the wonderfully evocative writing and creative cooking of Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson in particular, and there are an astonishing number of books where the recipes just don’t work; but there are still exciting books emerging. We eat every single day; we want new ideas; fashions in eating are always changing; there will always be a need for new books on food.’
And, we hope, there will always be people like Murray who can’t resist buying cookery books, whether they need them or not.
Word of Mouth, 29 Bank Street, Glasgow, 041 35 7 4282, Mon-Sat IOam—épm.
l 1 large strip of orange zest, about 2ln j long 3 2 bayleaves , 1 cup dry white wine 3 2 tbsps chopped parsley 12 Nicoise, Gaeta or oil-cured black
THE SAVOURY WAY
I New Mexican restaurant
3 Cantina del Rey is up and 1 running at King sCourt.
Glasgow (at the junction
hand-made furniture and vegetable-dyed table linen to the craftsmanship in the kitchen itself. Lunch is served noon—2pm. with a special menu available at
per cent discount until Thursday 10 December. so head there to pick up something from its extra’large range of
I Deborah Madison
‘ Peel the potatoes and slice them lengthwise into quarters or, it large,
into sixths. Trim the lennel and cut into
wedges ‘hin thick. Leave some at the core so that the pieces stay intact. out
i the tomatoes into large, neat pieces.
Tomato, Fennel and Potato Stew with Satlron
A delicious aromatic soupy casserole — a vegetable version at the lish-based Provengale bouiilabaisse -lrom Deborah Madison, The Savoury Way. Feeds two to three persons
1‘th red or yellow-fleshed potatoes 2 lennel bulbs
1lb ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded, iuice reserved or two cups whole canned tomatoes
3 to 4 tbsps virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white part only, linely diced
1 large yellow onion, cut into wedges 1/2ln thick
2 garlic cloves, liner chopped
1 tsp herbes de Provence
2 to 3 pinches ol sallron threads
3 Boil potatoes for live minutes with salt to taste. Remove the potatoes but save ; the water. Warm the olive oil in a wide
pan. When hot, add the leek, onion, garlic, herbs, a little salt, sallron,
f orange zest, and bay leaves. Cook
slowly ior about six minutes, or until the onions are soil. Add the wine. Let it
i reduce by hall, then add tomatoes and
theiriuices, potatoes, lennel, halithe
z parsley, and the olives. Pour in enough ot the reserved potato water to cover, 9 bring to the boil, and lowerthe heat to
simmer ior 35 minutes, or until the
; vegetables are tender. Serve in bowls,
garnished with the remaining parsley, a spoonlul oi garlic mayonnaise and warm, crusty bread.
The Savoury Way is published by Bantom Press and sells for £16.99, hard back.
‘ of King‘s Street and
5 Osbourne Street). serving a little taste of Mexico. As well as the selection of
Chimichangas and Tostadas. the restaurant also offers a selection of
£4.95. and dinner is 5.30—11.3()pm. Booking on ()31 556 6583.
I Deli discounts Walkers Delicatessen, 23/24 Queensferry Street. Edinburgh is giving a ll)
panettone (everything from £1 .99 to deluxe tinned varieties). Christmas hampers and French cheese or to enter its Weekend in Paris prize competition. Phone ()31 225 8755.
dishes from North ofthe Border. I Dank Hotel The old Bank of Scotland at the junction ofthe High Street and the Bridges in Edinburgh has been converted into a Cafe Bar Restaurant. I New lndian vegetarian Edinburgh now has a second lndian restaurant specialising in vegetarian cuisine. with the arrival of Suruchi . which translates as good food . at Ma Nicolson Street. Created by two chefs who have come over from lndia. the menu draws from all ofthe
sub-continent's regions and aims to ‘celebrate
5 creativity‘in everything
, from the original
On Sun 13. Fri 18 & Sun 20 & during Mon 21 - Thurs 24 our coffee-house shall serve a wholesome & very tasty vegetarian Xmas menu.
Open Mon - Sat lO-6pm Sun ll-5pm (6, 13, 20 Dec)
7 The Grassmarkct. Edinburgh
Come and enjoy!
031 229 7884
- m L154; Iii—December 196201