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Feasting with The Guardian

"for adventurous eaters and curious cooks."

As you know I'm always plugging The Guardian and its team of food writers, recipe creators and foodie journalists in general. Well I'm English by birth and it's free, not hidden behind pay walls as many of these kind of things are. There are, of course food blogs, some of which have newsletters, and magazines that you can buy, but I came across The Guardian so early in my blogging life and it was such a source of inspiration that I have stuck with it.

Recently they changed their format slightly - and the name too - from Word of Mouth to Feast, so that, plus my donation today made me think it was time to give them a bit of a plug, whilst also contemplating that "adventurous eaters and curious cooks" description in relation to myself and the world in general.

As I said, their newsletter is free and I use it a lot, for inspiration on topics, and as a source of interesting, but achievable recipes. After several visits they do start putting on the pressure for a donation. Which actually is fair enough I think. They tell me how often I have 'visited' - almost 2,000 times since my last donation I think. And so, feling guilty. today I gave them what I suppose amounts to a subscription - not a huge one either, but enough to ease my conscience, because, of course The Guardian is one of the few independent sources of quality journalism in the world today and should be supported. They report on much more than food. I should do the same for Wikipedia too. Where would we all be without Wikipedia, even if it's not 100% reliable.

In their previous format The Guardian would just have a series of articles from their regular columnists. Now there are two main changes. Each issue is curated/edited by one of those columnists - well a select group of them - and each edition follows, very loosely, a theme. Last time it was art, this time vegetarian Christmas alternatives.

The week's columnist then riffs on the chosen topic, linking to various recipes, books, articles from The Guardian's archive; follows this with their 'week in food' which also links to a wide range of topics - restaurants, products, recipes, trends, books, chefs ...

Then we revert to something similar to their previous format with other columnists contributing with restaurant reviews, food waste ideas, drinks, shopping, interviews .. Sort of oddments like these cheeseboard trimmings. Often where I find blogging inspiration, and where my favourite Nigel Slater can still be found, for he seems to have either been passed over as a curator/editor - or else he declined the mission.

This week's vegetarian Christmas issue was filled with some sumptuous things which would be perfect for a vegetarian dinner any time like the headline Christmas rice pie with crisp sage and fried almonds with its accompanying Green beans in jurot dressing with fried breadcrumbs - both from Ottolenghi; Meera Sodha's Red cabbage parcels with macadamias, mushrooms and chestnuts or Chocolate and tahini cream tart from Ixta Belfrage

The main problem, of course, is that this a British publication where the seasons are always in completely opposite mode. No pages of recipes for prawns and cherries as in our current supermarket magazines here. Nevertheless it is indeed a window into what's happening in the foodie world. Australia does get a look in - Alice Zaslavsky is now a regular contributor, but yes, of course it's limited. It has it's own stable of celebrity cooks and a platform on which to push their work. Which may mean, of course that others miss out.

They imply their audience is made up of 'adventurous eaters and curious cooks'. So am I one of those? Adventurous eater? Not really I think. There are many things I just won't try and given a choice in an Asian restaurant for example I tend to stick to what is vaguely familiar. Perhaps moderately adventurous though. And of course if it's me cooking then I also have to consider how adventurous my audince is as well.

Which is also true for the 'curious cooks' side of the equation. I know that I moan about David's dislike of prawns, coconut, chilli .... but actually he, like me is fairly adventurous when it comes to cooking familiar things in new ways, which I guess is what I mostly like to do. And The Guardian offers ample opportunity of doing just that. Indeed it's probably here that I discovered both Ottolenghi and Nigel Slater, and Rachel Roddy too. It's not an exclusive source of inspiration, but certainly an important one. Even for the tried and true - the unadventurous and familiar,

Not all editions are equally inspiring of course - like all foodie sources. Quality varies. But if you are interested in cooking new things give it a go - Sign up here

This week's edition was a good one in many ways. Apart from that rice pie I might be trying this Mushroom, kimchi and sweet potato pie, miso sour cream from chef Bruno Loubet, on vegetarian friends - or grandaughter some time. Oh no - she doesn't like mushrooms. She may be vegetarian but she's not that adventurous.

It's a Thursday/Friday treat.

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