The Friday Five – Travels with Food


Everything but the squeal! - a great reading book gift for a food lover on holiday


As you may know by now, we’re away for Easter and no, my housesitters don’t extend their duties to blog sitting! One of my favourite pre-holiday preparations is choosing my holiday reading. I always try to have at least one book based in the country or culture I’m visiting, as it adds something in my view if you’re reading it in situ. And, of course, I like it to have a fairly strong food content. So here are a few of my favourites, or hopefully soon to be favourites!

1. Everything But the Squeal – this is my choice for this trip, although it’s a bit of a cheat as we’ll be in Majorca and it’s based in Northern Spain. In fact, I should have had this when I toured that part of Spain, and it did involve a lot of pig derived eating. A very under-rated part of Spain, but this book promises to bring it to life, from both a cultural and a food perspective.

2. Eat My Globe: One Man’s Search for the Best Food in the World – if, by any remote chance, your destination doesn’t have a suitable book written about it, then I would add Simon Majumdar’s book to your suitcase. By the end, you may come to the same conclusion, that Simon has eaten stuff so you never have to. Honestly, I don’t need to eat dog. But do share his admiration for Mrs King’s pork pies. A great read, highly recommend it.

3. Hokkaido Highway Blues – I’ve been really lucky to have several trips to Tokyo with my day job, and this has come with me each time. Whilst it’s based in places I haven’t got to, the culture it describes is familiar, and alien in the way that Japan gets you. Although this is a bit of a road book, then, being Japan, eating also figures high up on the agenda. Not to mention drinking!

4. Confessions of a French Baker: Breadmaking Secrets, Tips and Recipes – not the obvious book by Peter Mayle, but I really love this little tome. Great stories, and great recipes, it really gives you a sense of the work behind your morning croissant or batard. It’s fluffy and not a difficult read, but really enjoyable.

5. Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England – if you’re having a staycation, then Stuart Maconie’s book is a great one to have along for the ride. There are so many laugh out loud moments, and I hadn’t really appreciated from listening to him on the radio that he was a bit of a foodie. Everywhere he visits is measured by its tea rooms and local delicacies. If you’re staying in the North, then buy Pies and Prejudice. Or just go mad and buy both.

So, I’m hoping to have made my way through number 1 some time very soon, and will be working up to some new ones for France and Cyprus later in the year. Although nothing could possibly possess me to reread The Olive Farm, or anything that followed it.


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Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

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