Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales, by Penn Gillette (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

A stage magician’s account of his weight loss, and the unorthodox methods used to achieve this. A forceful, loquacious, funny and quite possibly at times too-salty-for-some diet memoir. Interesting and a fun read into the bargain, even if the approach used might not translate. As the author notes, though, this is a case study, not a recipe to follow.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Downsizing, by Tom Watson & Jo Lake (Kyle Books, 2020)

The former Labour politician’s account of his eight-stone weight loss, and the reversal of Type 2 diabetes. A scrappy book: equal parts name-droptastic autobiography, diet book (keto, basically), and Big Sugar polemic. While the core messages are sound, the scattershot approach – which reads as padding –  might be frustrating for some looking for focus.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

Anthony Bourdain’s Hungry Ghosts, by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose, & many others (Berger Books, 2018)

Nine Japanese stories of food, folklore, and supernatural revenge. Excellent compilation of traditional tales, delivered with twist-in-the-tale EC Comics-style glee. Lots to enjoy and to appreciate, not least in the book’s sumptuous presentation, and in the accompanying recipes and guide to ghosts and demons of the Edo period. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

 

Get Jiro! by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose, Langdon Foss & Jose Villarrubia (Vertigo Books, 2012)

In a food-obsessed alt-LA, a solitary sushi chef plays rival culinary gangs off against each other. Fun Jojimbo variant, with plenty of gags about foodie lifestyles, some tips on how to approach sushi with respect, plus an abundance of pulp-noir violence, characters, and attitude.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef, by Mark Schatzker (Periscope Books, 2015)

An investigation into what makes for the best steak. Jolly travelogue-cum-popular science book that relies a touch too much on stereotypes to get its points across, but nevertheless has much to say about cattle, compassion in farming, and in the relationship between process and product in an era of increasingly-mechanised and volume-driven production.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor, by Mark Schatzker (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

An exploration of the relationship between food flavour, nutritional qualities and diet, and the ways in which processed food industries work to substitute quality for flavour. A smart, clear overview of the topic area. Accessible and informative, even if its conclusions are straightforward.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights: A Journey Deeper into Dining Hell, by Jay Rayner (Guardian Faber, 2018)

A collection of restaurant reviews: Observer critic Jay Rayner’s bleakest dining experiences of the 2010s. Fun quick read, in which Rayner pursues his pet hates: the over-priced, the over-ambitious, the shoddy, the rude, the misbegotten. Punching up throughout with some verve. All he wants is decent grub at fair prices, after all.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.