The Perfect MealThe Perfect Meal
John Baxter, £9.99 Harper Perennial

In addition to his work as a film critic and biographer, Australian-born Paris resident John Baxter has written acclaimed memoirs about his life in France, including Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas. This time, he uses a culinary excavation for great lost dishes for an imagined feast as the narrative driver. With the help of his friend Boris, he researches the plausability of serving up lesser-spotted dinner party treats like caviar, rascasse (a bouillabaisse staple) and roast ox, and also places them in historical context. A thoroughly satisfying, literate romp through France’s foodie heritage which, like all great food tomes, is about so much more than what goes in your mouth. ★★★★

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