Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Fire & Knives

I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Fire & Knives from the market at Brick Lane just before Christmas. It's a new 'Food Quarterly' that launched in November and turned out to be the perfect little xmas present to myself, the ideal accomplice for those frequent periods of lying on the sofa recovering from overeating and drinking, usually with a glass of something and a box of Belgian chocolates nearby and several family members dozing around me, paper hats sliding slowly down over their eyes.

The first thing you notice about Fire & Knives is how beautifully it's presented, the thick paper and distinctive, colourful layouts combining to make it a pleasure to just hold and idly flick through. It's obviously been a labour of love to produce and you get the same impression from the writing within, editor Tim Hayward puts it best in his foreword:

Fire & Knives had to be about love of, enthusiasm for and fascination with food, in all its aspects. It could never be about being a 'connoisseur' - literally 'one who knows' - it had to be about being an amateur - 'one who loves' … so we gave our writers a simple, one line brief: write as an amateur about something you love.

And when you finally stop flicking, skimming and browsing and settle down to read, you find a wonderfully eclectic range of topics and writers all taking their brief very seriously. There's Matthew Fort wrestling with the question of defining English cooking and Tom Parker Bowles confessing the extent of his cookbook addiction, there's a couple of striking photo-essays, a touching portrait of a Bengali women's inner city vegetable growing and cooking community round the back of Spitalfields City Farm, a culinary expedition into poorly-mapped territory trying to cook with tobacco, a faces-at-the-window peek into the privileged dining rooms of City institutions, a surreally funny bit of quail-related fiction, an hilarious skewering of dining-scene pretension sneaking in as a restaurant review and a wide, quirky spectrum of other entertaining, thought-provoking and unexpected articles each as diverse and original as the last one.

They're all about food of course but like all the best writing so many of them are about so much more, food as the context that we live our lives with each other, those we love, those we barely know; the hooks around which we form our memories of times and places that we carry with us forever. It's a pleasure to read and I'm looking forward to issue 2 already. You should too.

Details of subscriptions on the Fire & Knives website.  No details on there about shops carrying it but I believe there's a few places in London, Foyles and Books for Cooks spring to mind.  Hassle them on Twitter for locations near you.

Pictures pinched from their website.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a fan too. Looking forward to the next issue. So different to the other food mags on the market.