Nicolas Freeling, best known for producing some of the finest of modern crime fiction, began his working life as an apprentice cook in a large French hotel. He continued cooking professionally for many years, and his enthusiasm for, and interest in, gastronomy in its broadest sense is at least equal to his passion for crime. Here, reprinted in a single volume, are his two splendid books of gastronomical memoir drawn from those experiences. Each is a delicious blend of the culinary and the literary, and include such recipes as cinnamon lamb stew and bouillabaisse, all charmingly floating about in a consistently entertaining text. The work is illustrated by the witty and winsome pen of John Lawrence, the perfect visual sauce for Freeling’s savouries. Funny, wise, full of inspiration and delight, The Kitchen Book & The Cook Book will find a place close to every cook’s hearth and heart.
Nicolas Freeling is the author of two of the best books about cooking in the English language. The Kitchen Book and The Cook Book have long been favorites of mine. That they will appear under one cover, with the original illustrations, is fine news indeed. I can’t help regretting that Ludwig Bemelmans is not here to see this new edition of his good friend’s prose. The two men were strangely alike in their abilities to describe the true joys of cooking and eating like civilized human beings.
[He] will be read for a long time, because while he was turning his vegetables and reducing his sauces he had an eye to the social context of what he was doing, and to the rich ragout of Zola-esque characters by whom we was surrounded.
Sensitively civilized and very European . . . absolutely delightful to read.
—The London Times