Season Two of Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith is back in my favourite world of the food writer, digging up Root, Stem, Leaf and Flower with Gill Meller, pickling in the Summer Kitchens of Olia Hercules’ Ukrainian childhood and taking to the high wire with Ols Halas, chef at Giffords’ Circus Sauce. Ravinder Bhogal takes us back to her family home in Nairobi in Jikoni with the kind of food memories to make your heart melt and Ana Ros strides across Slovenia to become the best female chef in the world in her debut, Sun and Rain.
And if you need some context with your capers, William Sitwell gives us the history of The Restaurant and Geraldene Holt chooses her four favourite books of all time, by some of her best friends, MFK Fisher and Jane Grigson.
Olia Hercules is my first guest in Season Two, and then there’ll be weekly visits to the homes of my guests (remotely but so intimately). But if you’re just too hungry to wait, pop over to Season One, where Sara Paretsky talks about the food that drives her plot and feeds the Italian/Polish depths of VI Warshawski and Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Benjamin Myers, Joanne Harris, Jo Thomas and Jeff Gordinier talk about food as the drivers in their books: The Mercies, The Offing, The Strawberry Thief, Escape to the French Farmhouse and Hungry.
And there’s plenty of food writers waiting to serve you up a little philosophy with their filo and fish pie. Melissa Hemsley takes us through the four dishes that greened up her life in Eat Green, while Henrietta Lovell reads us some of her adventures in tea in the Fortnum and Mason nominated Infused. Olivia Potts talks through the food of grief in her award-winning memoir, A Half-Baked Idea. Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley take us on a tour of Palestine through four food moments from their new book, Falastin while Romy Gill MBE takes us back to four food moments of her childhood in West Bengal, the inspiration for her debut cookbook, Zaika.