Celebrity chefs certainly stir the passions at Mostly Books. Some people cannot stand the whole celebrity chef thing, and there's nothing like a new cookbook from one of the giants - Nigella, Gordon, Jamie or Hugh - to start people muttering furiously. At the same time, I know just how many people are huge fans of these chefs, and clutch their latest collection of recipes fondly to their chests as they exit the shop.
This isn't surprising. For anyone who cooks, favourite cookbooks and cookery writers are like old friends and trusted guides in the kitchen. The style of a particular cookery writer - informal v. prescriptive, everyday basics v. 'requires a vacuum oven' - can inspire or jar, and this is what drives people to revile one author and madly recommend another.
So, for today's '3 4 Friday' #FridayReads we've tried to look past the obvious bestsellers, and instead picked three of our favourite cookbooks to have come into the shop in the last few months.
We say book because it is actually a lot more than a cookbook. It's full of retro recipes, styling tips and advice for round-the-year vintage tea-parties. Beautifully photographed and illustrated, this is a sumptuous book brimming with ideas, exciting recipes and projects for you to try that you can dip in and out of, or perhaps sit down with a notebook and be inspired for you own stylish evening party, using their tips on how to set the scene and dressing up, perhaps taking elements from each party and developing your own.
There's something for every occasion, from New Year's Eve and Christmas to a Gentleman's Tea Party (complete with invitations, recipes for asparagus cigars and even how to tie a bow-tie) or a coming-of-age party. There's everything you need to plan your own exciting gathering, even for Guy Fawkes night. A really beautiful book that's perfect for any stylish and creative person, or those who love their bit of vintage - no matter how old or young, there will be something in this book for them and it makes just the most fantastic gift.
It's a book that celebrates the very best of French home-cooking in a modern and accessible way. Topped with some lovely pictures to get your mouth watering, the recipes are easy to do and truly inspiring so you can add your own little French culinary touch to your everyday life, wherever you are and however big your kitchen is. This is simple, rustic, authentic French cuisine that anyone can copy easily. A fabulous book.