A couple of weeks ago, when Press Gazette announced the results of their survey to find the best 50 UK food and drink journalists — a piece of research that surveyed many specialist journalists and 1,000 members of the nationwide general public — it was no surprise to many that Fiona Beckett’s name was very high on that list. She is one of the most prolific of food writers, with columns, blogs and a vast number of books to her name. Equally at home writing about food or wine, or food and wine via her food-and-wine-matching articles, she has a knowledge and passion that are the equal of few in the business.
Over the years, Fiona has written several books for Absolute Press. (She’s also nudged us in the direction of one or two others for commissioning!) The fact that she can turn her hand to writing on almost any food subject is quite something; what’s more remarkable is that she can write with such passion and erudition on those subjects, and that’s certainly the case with all of the books she has written for Absolute. Her first book for Absolute, Beyond Baked Beans (2003) was the beginning of something huge. Two more books would follow in a series dedicated to ensuring that students understood good food and were given good recipes to practice that knowledge: Beyond Baked Beans Green (2004) and Beyond Baked Beans Budget (2006).
In 2004, we published Fiona’s Sausage and Mash (2004), which explored one of the great comfort foods and an array of wonderful dishes that incorporated it. Her follow-up of sorts, Meat & Two Veg (2006), was an extension of the comfort food theme, enlarged to explore a Great British institution.
In 2008, we commissioned Fiona to write The Frugal Cook. A relevant and significant book we thought it would be, but no one could have better-timed its arrival, coming as it did as the country officially fell into recession towards the winter of that year. It reprinted instantly and Fiona became one of the more prominent and respected spokespeople for frugal eating, not least via the blog she set up alongside the book, which is still going strong today.
And in 2009, we released an edited and enhanced collection of Fiona’s student recipes into one book, The Ultimate Student Cookbook, with lots of new content and introducing three new hugely talented food writers in the process (step forward Signe Johansen, James Ramsden and Guy Millon). The book cemented what most already knew: that Fiona was the most relevant and talented writer on student cooking around.
Testimony to the fact that Fiona’s writing remains so important and her recipes so worthwhile is this year’s rerelease of The Frugal Cook, looking better than ever and priced more keenly than before. She is arguably the most knowledgeable voice writing on the subject of food frugality today.
If you aren’t already familiar with Fiona and her work, then give one of the above a try and/or follow her musings on food via her Twitter account.