A life spent cooking and writing turned into a delicious memoir
PLEASE NOTE: Smart Tart is in production so your name can not be listed in the back of the book. However, you are guaranteed a copy of the special Unbound edition that will not be available in the shops.
What is it?
My best known book, The Art of the Tart, published in 2000, did pretty well and earned me the spurious title ‘The Queen of Tarts’.
I thought it was about time for a sequel as, after a bakery's dozen years, I have become a better queen and tart maker and there's a whole new generation of cooks out there. But it wasn't enough. A sequel is rarely as good as the original and I've never been good at repeating myself.
So I started writing some stories about my life around the kitchen table; about childhood, my children, and about the people and places who have influenced my life. And my food. Beginning with my grandparents’ cook Rhoda and her celestial Bakewell tart; the story of Christmas in my childhood, tea at Fortnum's with my grandmother and my brother Dan; the social revolution of the '60s and how food was a major part of our changing attitudes to sex and the opposite sex; the places that have profoundly influenced my life and taste: landscape, place, ideas, our changing relationship to Nature.
One piece, 'Famine’, is about the transforming and restorative power of landscape and about the fragility of our eco-system and the food and harvests we take for granted.
'Homestart’ is about the lessons I gave to a bunch of local young mothers and the pleasure and achievement of learning to cook (read more in the extract below).
All these essays are deeply connected but can be dipped into in no particular order. There are tarts to match, 30 in all, sweet, savoury, classics, new takes on old favourites and my newest and best recipes since The Art of the Tart. All can be cooked by all, all levels of skill, that is.
Why should I pledge?
It's a beautiful book: a small hardback, with amazing illustrations by John Broadley and photographs by fashion photographer Robert Fairer. As well as making a cracking Christmas gift, it also marks a new departure for me as a writer. Elizabeth David and M.F.K. Fisher left behind a legacy of good writing and captured their times, their food, their world.. Now, with the help of Unbound - and, I hope, you - I'm finally writing he book I've been longing to write and for you to read.
I am not a natural teacher. I have always tended to side with the naughty child and I still do. And I haven’t got the patience, I know I haven’t. Aeons of boredom in the classroom meant I daydreamed my way through most of my schooldays, apart from the subjects I was interested in and good at, English, Art, French. Even then, if the teacher didn’t inspire me I lost interest, couldn’t write for the English teachers who were uninspiring, so they must have thought it pretty peculiar that each time round I got the top grade with the one who inspired me most whilst having no fire within for them.
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
After almost a years on the Unbound site, we have just learnt that Smart Tart is to included in this year's premium hamper for Fortnum & Mason.
Their bulk order means the book has suddenly shot up to 103%.
We've made it and there's just time to get the book out for Xmas, so get all your friends to pledge http://unbound.co.uk/books/smart-tart/
Thanks so much for you help.
These people are helping to fund Smart Tart.