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Tuesday 1 February 2022

Chewing The Fat by Jay Rayner @jayrayner1 @GuardianBooks @FaberBooks #ChewingTheFat #BookReview


Why are gravy stains on your shirt at the dinner table to be admired?

Does bacon improve everything?

And is gin really the devil’s work?

In this rollicking collection of his hilarious columns, the award-winning writer and Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner answers these vital questions and many, many more. They are glorious dispatches, seasoned in equal measure with both enthusiasm and bile, from decades at the very frontline of eating.

‘Deliciousness served up in book form.’ Philippa Perry

‘Wonderfully funny, foodie and perfectly short.’ Tom Kerridge

Chewing The Fat : Tasting Notes from a Greedy Life by Jay Rayner was published in September 2021 in paperback by Guardian Faber Publishing. I bought my copy from Waterstone's. 

I am a huge Jay Rayner fan. I've read and reviewed his previous two books here on Random Things; Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights (January 2019) and My Last Supper (August 2020).

This is slim volume but it had me laughing uncontrollably in places. It is a collection of Jay Rayner's columns from The Observer, all gathered together in one huge dollop. It's like the best bacon sandwich followed by an enormous cup of Yorkshire Tea!

There are many things that Rayner likes; he likes food, especially if it has anything to do with pig, he likes eating out, he likes cooking at home.  There's also a wealth of things that he doesn't like and it is his wry and hilarious observations about these that I enjoy the most. I would like nothing more than to have a night out with this guy. We agree on (almost) everything and if had a quarter of his wit and sarcasm, I would be a happy woman! 

The restaurants who just GET. IT. WRONG. Those establishment who think they are being oh so clever, and out there and a little bit edgy, but in fact, all they are doing are making themselves look like utter fools. Us customers do like a bit of magic, but the food has to taste good. It is the FOOD we are paying for, it's the FOOD that we've looked forward to all day. We don't want chips in a small wheelbarrow, or gravy poured from a lightbulb.  We want crispy chips, with a soft middle - served on a plate and we want a jug of meaty gravy that we can pour over our meal.  Thanks

I love Rayner's Christmas issues. I love the idea of him locking himself into the kitchen and doing it properly, with no 'helpful' relations trying to interfere. Let him get on with it, let us all get on with it. Please.

There is no better food critic than Rayner (I do love Grace Dent, but I'm afraid she has to sit in this guy's shadow). I love his books, they make me happy and they make me laugh and they make me feel better about my own rants about how food is sometimes offered up to us.

Highly recommended

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. Somehow, he has also found time to write four novels and five works of non-fiction. 

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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