James May’s No Frills Cooking

James May drives home the message that good food doesn’t need frills in Oh Cook!

By: Louis Thomas

James May drives home the message that good food doesn’t need frills in Oh Cook!

In an age of calorie counting and fad diets, it’s a nice change to find a cookbook which calls for ‘spaghetti or whatevs’. This isn’t a cookbook for the gastronomer or seasoned chef, but for the reluctant home cook who just wants to eat something vaguely tasty without having to resort to the dreaded ready meal.

Written in his characteristic no-nonsense style, May declares that ‘cooking is not engineering’ – a refreshing antidote to the over-elaborate creations of MasterChef. This isn’t Michelin worthy fodder, but it’s honest and simple, and the sort of thing which even a novice in the kitchen could attempt. He’s a doyen of comfort food, and one whose fondness for SPAM is indicative of a 70s childhood. It’s a cookbook written by someone who has taught himself to cook.

The book is also a journey deeper into the culinary arts and world cuisine. There are such classics as his ‘Spamen’, a portmanteau of SPAM and ramen, quite possibly inspired by his recent journey through Japan and a fusion dish which could either be delicious or not. Though the food is generally traditional, his experimental streak and prolific use of tinned meats adds an element of jeopardy which most so-called celebrity chefs lack. James May is in a league of his own.

Oh Cook! accompanies the Amazon Prime series, launching on November 13.  The cookbook is available for £14.99 and is published by Pavilion Books.  We encourage you to support local independent bookstores by buying the book from Bookshop.org, using the link below.

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