They didn’t have my fire

Bee Wilson

  • The Settler’s Cookbook: A Memoir of Love, Migration and Food by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
    Portobello, 439 pp, £20.00, March 2009, ISBN 978 1 84627 083 3

‘I went into a milk-house; they brought me some cream-cheese curds and whey, and two slices of that excellent Piedmont bread, which I prefer to any other; and for five or six sous I had one of the most delicious meals I ever recollect to have made.’ Thus Rousseau in his Confessions, where he also writes about his liking for pears, his fear of pastry shops, his fondness for starting the day with milky coffee and his preference for simple, ‘rustic repasts’: ‘give me milk, vegetables, eggs and brown bread, with tolerable wine and I shall always think myself sumptuously regaled.’

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