Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith
Skye McAlpine: A Table Full of Love
This week, Gilly is Zooming into the 17th-century Palazzo home in Venice of Skye McAlpine.
The daughter of Lord Alistair McAlpine, one of Margaret Thatcher’s closest advisers, Skye grew up in Venice where she now lives with her own family. A classics scholar with a PhD in ancient love poetry, she’s an expert on how Greeks and Romans understood love. And in her latest cook book, A Table Full of Love, she writes a culinary love letter to the friends and family whose recipes she’s gathered over time, whisking in memories and a dash of affection.
If the first two books were about Venice and friends and mismatched but beautiful China collected in flea markets, this is a deeper read about memories and feelings in the language of love. Or is it?
Follow Gilly @foodgillysmith on Instagram, and on Substack each week for a little Extra Bite from Gilly's guests. Come to Venice with Skye in this week’s post.
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27. Jenny Chandler: A Good Appetite31:52This week Gilly is with Jenny Chandler whose book A Good Appetite is all about eating for planet, body and soul.It's a subject particularly close to Gilly's heart; her award-winning book Taste and the TV Chef looked at the influence TV chefs have had and could have in changing the way we eat. Her podcast for Leon How to Eat to Save the Planet and her work for Compassion in World Farming, the Food Foundation and Cooking the Books itself itself are all rooted in the interdependence between where food, health, soil and planet.Expect then, a good old rant about where we are in the race to save the planet, our junk food culture and an unconscious sleepwalk towards doom! Happily, Jenny has a more upbeat approach!Check Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites each week.
26. James Whetlor: The DIY BBQ CookBook35:14This week, Gilly is with James Whetlor, former chef at River Cottage and The Eagle in Farringdon with a whole new take on the barbecue.For festival goers, upcycling hobbyists and outdoor cooking fanatics, James has come up with genius ways to easily build your own. Before she traces the fascinating dark history of the barbecue with James, Gilly asks why a man who admits he can’t even put up a shelf decided to write The DIY BBQ CookBook.Check out Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites every episode.
25. Niki Segnit: The Flavour Thesaurus - More Flavours34:44This week, Gilly is with Niki Segnit, the award-winning author of The Flavour Thesaurus, Lateral Cooking, and now The Flavour Thesaurus: More Flavours, The original Flavour Thesaurus published in 2011 has been called “a masterpiece” and is widely seen as a modern classic with its flavour pairings format inspired by Roget’s Thesaurus. This sequel is all about plant-led pairings, giving us imaginative and ingenious ideas to make our plant forward diets so much more exciting.
24. Saghar Setareh: Pomegranates and Artichokes29:58This week, Gilly is with Iranian food writer and photographer, Saghar Setareh whose debut book Pomegranates & Artichokes is the story of two food cultures that share so much in common but which are worlds apart.Saghar was born in Tehran and moved to Rome in 2007 to study at the Fine Art Academy. But by 2009 protests against the new regime broke out in all the major cities and led to what has become known as the Green Revolution or Persian Spring, and suddenly Saghar found herself unable to go home. Gilly asks her about her dedication in the book to those who dare to live a life. to those who move ‘braving the seas and the mountains, the men and their borders’.Head over to Gilly’s Substack as she takes Saghar’s orange rice cake to Claudia Roden whose legendary orange and almond cake is Saghar’s inspiration.
23. Jennifer Medhurst: The Imperfect Nutritionist32:47This week Gilly is with former lawyer, Jennifer Medhurst, aka The Imperfect Nutritionist.And while there's plenty of talk about gut health, this episode focusses on mental health and exhaustion after the interview took an unexpected turn. Gilly asked Jennifer about a rather throwaway line in the introduction to her book about her own recovery from a long illness, and opened a fascinating discussion about the impact of diet on stress and mental health.For all those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, long covid, or just life exhaustion, this is for you.
21. Saliha Mahmood Ahmed: The Kitchen Prescription38:53This week, Gilly is back with MasterChef winner, author and doctor, Saliha Mahmood Ahmed.She’s a historian, a TV chef and a gastroenterologist with a kitchen clinic, and she’s on a mission to prescribe food to fix our obesity crisis. Gilly first meet Saliha on the delicious. podcast when she took her through the fascinating history of food in the Mughal empire in Khazana. They met again for Foodology, her often hilarious handbook to healthy eating, and now she’s back with The Kitchen Prescription, her no-nonsense doctor’s guide to the gut.Check Gilly's Substack for Saliha's video on how to make her prebiotic tabbouleh in Extra Bites
20. Sarah Wyndham Lewis: Wild Bees31:09This week, Gilly is with honey sommelier and bee champion, Sarah Wyndham Lewis. Her book, The Wild Bee Handbook is a fascinating insight into the world of the 'other' bees, the ones that don't make honey but go almost completely unnoticed. Their role in the protection of the planet is mighty, and as the unsung guardians of biodiversity, we all need to know much more about them and what we can do to protect them against the risk of extinction. Click here for Sarah's bee friendly recipes on Gilly's Substack
19. Andi Oliver: The Pepperpot Diaries35:31This week Gilly is with chef, TV presenter and now, finally author, Andi Oliver. She’s one of the most successful black women on British TV, a respected pundit on Caribbean cooking on Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet and rocking it in the best frocks on the telly in the Great British Menu. And after her return to her ancestral home of Antigua with her daughter Miquita for the BBC, she’s rethinking her connection with who she is. Her mix of musings and recipes from her trip though the Caribbean are captured in her first book, The Pepperpot Diaries, a stirring together of her stories and complex layers of identity. And as she and Gilly contemplate what it means to be 60, she tells us what it’s felt like waiting to exhale.
18. Dr Rupy Cooks35:46This week, Gilly is with Rupy Aujla to talk gut health, flavour and his latest book, Dr Rupy CooksHe’ s a best selling author, a BBC presenter, a podcaster - his podcast The Doctor’s Kitchen is massive, his Instagram following is in 6 figures and somehow he manages to make it to work as a GP. If anyone can change the narrative about why heatlhy eating is so important for the whole of society, it’s Dr Rupy.And of course, it all starts in the gut. For two of the recipes from his four food moments, go to Gilly's Substack for some Extra Bites, and to hear Rupy on the latest episode of the Food Foundation Podcast on 5 years of the Sugar Tax, click here