Friday, 10 January 2014

UNDER A MACKEREL SKY – Rick Stein, 2013

 I love to read. I lean towards fiction, especially the classics, but I’m a sucker for a good autobiography.
This one is good. I was given it as a Christmas present because I love cooking and am always interested in the backgrounds of celebrity chefs. I find it fascinating to see how they eventually ‘fell’ into a kitchen, stepping over all those who have trained from college level. Their success often boils down to luck but they all have passion and no-one can deny that makes a difference.
I usually read chef’s biographies and autobiographies purely for their life stories and the way they impart their joy at being able to be paid for cooking.
Stein’s autobiography has two additional points in its favour. One: he knows how to write. Two: he writes about Cornwall.
After a spell in Australia, coming to terms with is father’s suicide, Stein took an English degree at Oxford and it shows.
I am, I admit, biased by his choice of location. Padstow, in Cornwall, is one of the most sublime places on this earth. I love it there and Stein does, too. Let me be clear that I have never eaten in any of his highly-priced restaurants as I don’t eat fish, but that is not the point.
There are parts of this which I did not enjoy, especially the chapters relating to his time in Australia and his work in an abattoir there. But, in the main, this is a highly enjoyable view of the life of someone who loves Cornwall.

And then there are tales of his lovely dog, Chalky, who is the icing on the cake.

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