Book Review – The Agony Chef

by Kate Sidley (illustrations by Leigh Forrest) Macmillan ISBN 978177010269 9 R214

The Agony and the Gastronomy. Have you ever wondered what to cook when your boyfriend’s dumped you? Run over a neighbour’s cat? How to make the perfect snacks for your kid’s first sleep over?

Maybe you don’t see yourself as much of an amateur chef—and let’s face it, most of us spend more time watching Master Chef or Food Channel to dust the cobwebs from our Salton blenders—then maybe the answer to these culinary niggles is moot.
But, come on, surely you’ve been curious as to the etiquette in asking for a doggy bag at a posh restaurant, or wanting to know which foods are considered aphrodisiacs?

If, like me, you’re a lazy eggs-on-toast slob, then The Agony Chef has the answer to these cheeky questions and more—it’s the chic lit of cookbooks. Kate Sidley has created the irreverent and smart Delilah as an agony aunt, ready at the drop of a whisk to provide a recipe for whatever life throws at you. From comfort food to gourmet fare, there’s a recipe to match every mood, environment and occasion. I’ll admit the book hasn’t left my bedside—she’s a really funny writer—but one of these days I’m going to test out something in my narrow, pristine and unused kitchen.

While I loved Leigh Forrest’s charming illustrations, the book could have done with some colour photos of the prepared dishes as inserts—nothing like a real life pic to get the taste buds watering. Still, it’s the perfect gift for that annoying foodie friend who has every recipe book from Julia Child to Jamie Oliver. When she’s not indulging her alter ego, Kate Sidley whips up a weekly column for the Sunday Times and other fun features for magazines.

PS: Incidentally, I did know the answer to ‘What to cook when your boyfriend’s dumped you?’ His bunny. Duh.

Faith Parker

Posted on: 1st September 2012