Tuesday 18 August 2020

My Last Supper by Jay Rayner @jayrayner1 #MyLastSupper #GuardianFaberPublishing #OneMealInALifetime

You're about to die. What would your final meal be?
This question has long troubled Jay Rayner. As a man more obsessed with his lunch than is strictly necessary, the idea of a showpiece last supper is a tantalising prospect. But wouldn't knowledge of your imminent demise ruin your appetite?

So, Jay decided to cheat death.

The plan was simple: he would embark on a journey through his life in food in pursuit of the meal to end all meals. It's a quest that takes him from necking oysters on the Louisiana shoreline to forking away the finest French pastries in Tokyo, and from his earliest memories of snails in garlic butter, through multiple pig-based banquets, to the unforgettable final meal itself.

My Last Supper is both a hugely entertaining account of a life built around mealtimes and a fascinating global exploration of our relationship with what we eat. It is the story of one hungry man, in eight courses.

My Last Supper - One Meal a Lifetime in the Making by Jay Rayner was published in hardback in September last year by Guardian Faber Publishing. The paperback will be released in September this year.

I am a huge huge fan of Jay Rayner and I this signed hard-back was a birthday present last October. It's taken me an age to get to it, but I have enjoyed every single word of it.

Jay Rayner and I would appear to have very little in common, although we are of a similar age. I grew up in a tiny village in rural Nottinghamshire, being fed meat paste on toast and lots of boiled potatoes. Jay Rayner grew up in London with bohemian, well-known parents and ate oysters!

However, the more I read about his food tastes, the more that I feel that we are almost the same person, and if only I had the opportunities to eat in such amazing places that he does. However, I do almost eat his review pages, marking those places in my little book ... in the hope, that one day, I too will get to eat that food.

One Last Supper is a simple idea. You are about to die, what would your final meal be? Jay Rayner has been asked this question so many times during live events and interviews that he decided, once and for all to answer it truthfully. However, he doesn't just list his final menu, he talks in great detail about the ingredients that would make up that meal, and just like his food reviews, he does with with humour and drool inducing language.

I found myself nodding in agreement so many times, and was delighted to agree with all of his thoughts about people who don't appreciate good butter, or decent sparkling water ... I no longer feel a bit odd when I express a preference for a certain brand of fizzy water!
There's a chapter about pig ... oh my goodness, I had to go out and buy the largest and thickest pork chops that I could get immediately after reading that one.

I'm not going to tell you what his final meal turned out to be, but you are in for a surprise when you get to it. I wish I'd been around that table, I really do.

A fabulously entertaining book from a witty and knowledgeable voice. I enjoyed it so much.

So, what would your final meal be?  After much internal debate, I've decided on mine ... for now

Bread - preferably sourdough, although a tiger loaf would do with VERY GOOD butter
Seared scallops with crispy bacon and pea puree
Roast chicken, with crispy salty skin, stuffed with lemon and garlic - with boiled Jersey new potatoes, cauliflower, broad beans and proper gravy.
Fresh strawberries and cherries, with Greek yoghurt and Greek honey
Sparkling water.

Jay Rayner is an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster with a fine collection of shirts. He has written on everything from crime and politics, through cinema and theatre to the visual arts, but is best known as the restaurant critic for the Observer. For a while he was a sex columnist for Cosmopolitan; he also once got himself completely waxed in the name of journalism. He only mentions this because it hurt.
Jay is a former Young Journalist of the Year, Critic of the Year and Restaurant Critic of the Year, though not all in the same year. In 2018 he was named Restaurant Writer of The Year in the Fortnum and Mason Food and Drink Awards. He performs live all over the country, both with his one man shows and as a pianist with his jazz ensemble, The Jay Rayner Quartet. He is a regular on British television, where he is familiar as a judge on MasterChef and, since 2012 has been the chair of BBC Radio 4’s food panel show The Kitchen Cabinet. He likes pig.
Twitter @jayrayner1

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