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20th February 2019

‘Slow’ by Gizzi Erskine: A Cookbook Review

Elena Bradley discusses Gizzi Erskine’s newest cookbook ‘Slow’. Is it too complex or is it the ultimate guide to incredible, dream-worthy food?
‘Slow’ by Gizzi Erskine: A Cookbook Review
‘Slow’, Photo @ Elena Bradley.

Gizzi Erskine is a name you won’t forget and nor will you forget this book. She is a female food-writer-come-chef who became popular from her TV series ‘Seoul Food’. The show explored the best of Korea’s kimchi, gochuchang, and fried chicken. Gizzi is not only eccentric by name but also does most of her cooking and TV exploring with an immaculately hair-sprayed beehive — which alone is a huge achievement. The philosophy of ‘Slow’ is a stark departure from most of the cookbooks finding success today; Erskine champions “food worth taking time over”. In her introduction, she remarks bitterly that most consumer cookery now is aimed at creating something flavourful in the least time possible, and while this is possible — Erskine beckons us back to classical recipes that take hours but also take you to another planet from their incomparable taste!

The very immediate drawback of this cookbook is that it’s not very student friendly. Whilst it is practical in terms of a few pans and slow cooking, Erskine is quite demanding with the ingredients… The prospect of nipping round Fallowfield with my B&M stationary scissors to chance upon some wild garlic leaves seems a tad unlikely. Equally, even though I’m the one person on the planet who eats celery as a snack by choice — buying a whole bulb of celery to use ‘a handful’ of leaves for a stew seems irritatingly wasteful.

However! Whilst this book is incompatible with student life it is the perfect companion to any foodie or aspiring cook. If I want flavour or anything close to the theme of wholesome; I will turn to ‘Slow’. With recipes like ‘Blonde Veal and Sage Ragu’, ‘Lemon Sherbet Meringue Pie’, ‘Roast Duck with Blood Orange Gravy’, and a ‘Sustainable, Vegan Bolognese’, this book is full of delicious food. These recipes genuinely look like something I’d take home and introduce to my family. Equally, for the superficial people out there like me who’d only buy a cookbook for it to look sexy on a shelf, ‘Slow’ will not fail you. A light grey book with foiled copper writing and classic botanical-style sketches of ingredients; she’s a beauty.

Ultimately, this book will become the bible of anyone who loves truly flavourful food. She’s a mindful, progressive chef who has recently opened a ‘dirty’ vegan burger bar in London but who still acknowledges the ‘middle way’ of moderation with meat-eating and indulgence. Her recipes, whilst sometimes extensive in ingredient list, will not fail to present you with something show-stopping. This book not only provides you with inspiration but also love. Recently, a love interest challenged me to a bolognese-cook-off (wild, I know). With Gizzi Erskine’s recipe, he will be eating his words (and my incredibly tender mince).  For that reason alone, ‘Slow’ tops every cookbook recommendation I’ve been making in 2019 so far.



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