Photo from Rachel Eats.
I know a few exceptional food writers. You know, the type who can effortlessly convey the aromas and flavors of her kitchen, flawlessly capture the relationships forged at the market, or earnestly document a familiar food culture in an utterly entrancing way. I know a few such people and one of them lives in Rome. Her name is Rachel Roddy and her cookbook comes out to day. You need to buy that book. Buy it for yourself and then buy it for every cook and traveler you know.
Rachel is a British food writer, blogger, home cook, and photographer. She grew up north of London surrounded by the books of Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson, a fact that shows through in her own honest, exquisite writing. A decade ago, she came to Rome and settled in Testaccio, a district in central Rome that is geographically isolated from its neighbors, engendering a completely unique atmosphere and distinct culture, one that Rachel is immersed in has illustrated beautifully with the recipes, images, and stories on her blog Rachel Eats. The book, Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome, is a love letter to Testaccio, to Roman food, and to the simple, ordinary experiences that define life guided through food.
Now go buy this book and find a place for it beside titles by Jane Grigson, Elizabeth David, and Claudia Roden. It will soon be as well used and deeply loved as any of those.