So are you one of those annoying people who buy stuff in small increments all through the year and keep them in a cupboard for Christmas; who don’t set foot in Oxford Street after October; and won’t be seen running around Bluewater frantically on Saturday 23 December with veins throbbing on your forehead? Or are you still only thinking about making your Christmas shopping list and hope to do it all in the hours between lunchtime on 24 December and whenever the shops close??
Well, if you are of the latter persuasion, I have two suggestions for you that might save your sanity this Christmas. The first suggestion is a charming little stocking-filler for foodie friends, namely a gift book called Carve-ups: the rudest food reviews by Michelle Lovric. Let me say up front that Michelle very sent me a review copy which I haev been reading in little bits every evening before bed and giggling quietly to myself, or sometimes snorting out loud with laughter. Michelle has written a number of novels, often focusing on life in Venice, and combines her fiction work with editing, designing and producing literary anthologies including her own translations of Latin and Italian poetry and a number of anthologies. In Carve-ups she has assembled a collection of disparaging, insulting, snide and often hilarious food-related quotes from all over the world – perfect if (like me) you are a fan of the AA Gill style of reviewing
Some of my absolute favourites include:
"I see from my receipt that I had a dish called "pork dump", which pretty well sums it up." – Giles Coren
"Quite often the worst place to eat fish is beside the sea. People who catch it are not necessarily the best at cooking it, just as gynaecologists are not necessarily the best lovers." – AA Gill
"I looked for the waitng staff, but the room is so big they were probably obscured by the curvature of the earth" – Jay Rayner
"The gents’ toilets combine blood-spattered, stainless steel walls with Kiehl’s moisturiser dispensers. Who on earth is Nobu Berkeley supposed to be for? Metrosexual axe-murderers?" – Toby Young
The book is available directly from Mamelok Press so you don’t even have to leave home to sort out a gift for the favourite foodie in your life! It is also due to be released in the USA in 2007 under the title Skewered. Guaranteed to bring a smile to the lips of anyone who has ever eaten out – and an invaluable inspiration for those wishing to review bad restaurants
Another solution to your Christmas gift-buying problems is to hurry on over to Menu for Hope III before the weekend. This is the food blogger fundraising project where we raise funds for the UN World Food Programme. There are dozens of prizes to be won all over the world, ranging from meals out at spectacular restaurants, a Paris gastronomy and chocolate tour, a catered canape party, a box of totally adorable chocolate mice, a beautifully illustrated South African cookbook and goodie bag, a digital camera to handmade chocolates. Tickets can be bought online via a secure site and each $10 buys you one shot at the prize of your choice – just mention the prize code in the "personal message" section. Think about it – it’s a win-win situation: buy tickets as Christmas presents and either your loved ones get a wonderful prize, or they know that money has been donated to a very worthy cause on their behalf.
Either way, it’s enough to get a warm fuzzy feeling