Food & Drink

Simple Cooking

John and Matt Thorne are dedicated to quality food and serious writing, and their attitude is unpretentious and gimmick-free. Those who think similarly will want to visit this site often.

Simple Cooking is a food newsletter published by esteemed American food writer John Thorne and his wife Matt, and the site features many archived articles and recipes. The text is huge, particularly on the home page, and there are few visuals. The home page is laid out in the manner of an old-fashioned broadsheet newspaper, and there are few navigational devices. You need to read about each section before you know whether you want to go there. Some of the old articles archived from Simple Cooking issues are outdated, but much is still relevant and worth browsing.

Special Features

Eat Our Words is where you will find the food essays. They cover a range of subjects of interest to the Thornes, from why they don't like Martha Stewart to an extensive series on British pub food.

Made to Taste is a very interesting collection of traditional and modern recipes with detailed, well-written introductions. It is worth noting that Thorne seems to have a particular fondness for Irish food and is considered one of the world's great authorities on home bread making (though as he tells it, he's only ever used one recipe and it was James Beards'). Dishes that tempted our tastebuds include a new take on old English pease pudding, succotash with fresh tomatoes and basil butter, 'wedding present' baked beans, summer strawberry pie and no-machine lemon ice-cream.

Table Talk covers literary aspects of food, and there are some appreciative obituary-style articles on great food writers such as MFK Fisher, Elizabeth David and Richard Olney.

What John Had Tonight For His Midnight Snack Click on this link for an occaisional diary which chronicles John Thorne's late suppers and the films they accompany. Choices range from popcorn and a bag of crisps to Punjab eggplant (aubergine) with home-aged cottage cheese, Chinese scallion (spring onion) pancakes, and tomato-vodka soup. Nutritionists say we need to eat a wider variety of foods, and John Thorne's got it down to a fine art.

Links to sites that take the Thorne's interest are given, including the Toaster Cyber Museum Foundation, and a walking tour of Chinese outdoor markets. There are details of Thorne's books and newsletter.