Bee Wilson

Bee Wilson is the author of The Way We Eat Now and First Bite: How We Learn to Eat. Her first cookbook will be published next year.

At​ Elizabeth Taylor’s funeral – which started fifteen minutes late, in deference to her own habitual lateness – Colin Farrell recited ‘The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins. In the last two years of her life, when he was in his thirties and she was in her late seventies, Farrell had become one of Taylor’s closest friends. They met...

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman in 1961.

‘Thank you for keeping still,’ Elizabeth Taylor says to Paul Newman at the end of the movie version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958). Taylor’s character is thanking Newman for not saying anything when he hears her lying about being pregnant. But ‘Thank you for keeping still’ is also a good summary of Newman’s...

Like a Bar of Soap: Work, don’t play

Bee Wilson, 15 December 2022

If there was​ one thing Maria Montessori hated, it was play. She also disapproved of toys, fairy tales and fantasy. This came as a surprise to me. I had the impression – from the hippyish reputation of modern Montessori schools – that the essence of the Montessori method was ‘learning through play’. Indeed, this is the way her philosophy is often summarised, including...

The human body needs fat, while the tongue (or brain, or stomach, or wherever you locate your deepest gustatory desires) craves it. Fat carries flavours like nothing else. Palm oil has been used to feed billions of people an ultra-processed diet richer and in some ways more enticing than the food their grandparents ate. The downside is that refined palm oil doesn’t have much to offer nutritionally other than fat. 

‘Give me an English one!’ Matty Robinson said after tasting her first Indian curries in Bombay in 1858. She was 29, the eldest child of a Gloucestershire rector, and had gone to India as the wife of a British army officer, her cousin. As a third-generation Anglo-Indian, she was familiar with spicy food. Her problem was that the curries in India weren’t like the unsubtle...

Schlepping around the Flowers: bees

James Meek, 4 November 2004

Not long after​ the First World War, the movie baron Samuel Goldwyn set up a stable of Eminent Authors in an attempt to give silent screenplays more literary weight. One of the recruits was the...

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