The Plagiarist in the Kitchen is a recipe book which is implicity, and occassionally explicitly, critical of the recipe book industry, self-important 'celebrity chefs', the notion that cooking is an art, 'fine dining', the twee 'foodie' subculture, the massacre of the English language by food 'writers', artisan yogurt, organicised (ie muddy) vegetables, the use of 'source' as a synonym for 'buy' and so on - ad vomitum. It is a paean to unoriginality and theft. It admits what the vast majority of recipe books deny, that the wheel has already been invented and that anyone who claims to create a new dish is either mendacious or delusional or a member of the lobster-with-marmalade school of emetic absurdity. Meades was for 15 years the restaurant critic of The Times, a long lesson in the detection of the meretricious.
'Defiantly and hilariously unprecious...the final joke, of course, is that Meades has made a cookbook that is itself a work of literary art. Chapeau.' STEVEN POOLE, Guardian
'The Plagiarist in the Kitchen is hilariously grumpy, muttering at us “Don’t you bastards know anything?” You can read it purely for literary pleasure, but Jonathan Meades makes everything sound so delicious that the non-cook will be moved to cook and the bad cook will cook better.' DAVID HARE, Guardian