Borough Market Cookbook

The Borough Market Cookbook: Meat & Fish
The publishers behind "The Borough Market Book", have incubated another book - "The Borough Market Cookbook: Meat & Fish".

Photography is by George Nicholson, who has also been one of the leading figures in the development of the famous London Market over the past 10 years. The cookbook features 150 recipes by author of "The Best of Modern British Cookery" - Sarah Freeman and Sarah Leahy Benjamin. The cookbook also features 16 of the Market's key producers, from their own backyards to the weekly visit to the market stall. The recipes cover the entire spectrum of dishes, from quick-and-easy to impressive signature dishes.

The Borough Market Cookbook: Meat & Fish, designed by Catherine Dixonin was published in November 2007. It is available from good bookshops priced £19.99

This is not a cookbook that contains any "glossy" photographs of the dishes described in detail by the 2 authors. It is a deliberate decision. Instead, what is being offered is a return to an earlier more descriptive tradition, where human senses, cooking skills and ingredients were the main focus. Of course, presentaion is an important part of the process. I would argue, however, that it is not, nor should it be the principal one. An anology comes to mind of a preference for a rose with scent, rather than one merely as a competition exhibit. Readers and users of the cookbook can however be assured, that if the final product is not so immediately evident, each dish has been well tried and tested by the authors - both distinguished cooks.

So what is the philosophy behind the photographs in this cookbook? It was Paul Strand who stressed that: "the photographer has a duty to come, to know, to see, to understand what they see with a good deal of humility and respect". It is an important challenge, and one that chimes well with a key element of the Borough Market. Apart from its long history, a feature of the Market - one I would argue provides the very foundation stone on which its recent renaissance is based - is representation of a core of small producers from around the UK. To illustrate this pictorially, there are four distinct themes, Place; People; Process and Produce. This is to give the reader a flavour of the incredible variety of the British countryside; to spotlight the people behind the products in the market, to give a flavour of their daily lives; to illustrate something of the craft skills involved behind the scenes, and most importantly - to focus on the animals themselves. This is not a sentimental journey, nor should it be when we are describing commercial farming, albeit one where animal husbandry is to the fore. But treating animals with dignity is an important objective underpinning the photographs.

The photographs are all in Black & White, which might at first sight seem a little at odds with a desire to present the cookbook as a serious contribution to modern cooking. I personally prefer the medium, adding as I think it does a richness of tone absent in colour pictures. That is a personal preference. In the event, I was very struck by the sheer number of animals I photographed that were black and white, whether in feather,skin colour or coat.

The world is indeed more black and white than you think!