Announcing: The Ten (Food) Commandments

website 10 commands

Photography: levon Biss



I am delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of my new book The (Ten) Food Commandments, which will be published by Penguin Books in the UK June. It’s available for pre-order here. At the same time I am announcing my new live show, based on the book. The very first performance, under the auspices of Guardian Live, will be at the Royal Institute of British Architects on June 24. You can get tickets for that here. It will then go on tour through out the UK.


The Ten (Food) Commandments

The prophet Moses was many things: rebel leader, font of morality, poster boy for dodgy orienteering. On the tricky matter of your dinner he was less helpful, at least if the original Ten Commandments are anything to go by. Assuming they really were dictated by God and not something he cooked up when he was alone on the mountain top after having stomped off in a huff, the first four reveal the maker to be a touch self-absorbed. It’s all ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ and ‘You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God’. Really! Some people!

That’s followed by boiler plate stuff prohibiting murder, theft and lying before you get to the only one which in any way pertains to ingredients: the instruction not to covet thy neighbour’s oxen. Always tricky; there are some damn attractive oxen out there. This is the great failing of those Ten. They really don’t offer those of us located in the 21st century much in the way of guidance when it comes to thinking  about our relationship with our food. And Lord knows we need it.

The fact is we need a new set of hand-tooled, subject-specific food commandments, custom engineered for the modern food obsessed age. Which in turn means we need our very own culinary Moses; someone with the scholarship, dignity, insight and teeth to stand in judgement on everyone else.

I know just the man.

Oh come on. Who else could it be?

I have a beard flecked with grey. I have shaggy hair and, though I say it myself, I look super hot in flowing robes. (They rather flatter the more generous figure). And yes, I really do have all my own teeth. I wouldn’t mind having someone else’s teeth but I’ll settle for mine. They’ve seen me this far.


So come with me as I lay down the law; as I deal once and for all with the question of whether it really is ever okay to covet thy neighbour’s oxen (it is), the importance of eating with your hands (very important indeed) and whether you should cut off the fat (you shouldn’t).

I will give you guidance on worshipping leftovers and why you should not mistake food for pharmaceuticals which can cure you of all known diseases, especially cancer. (A quick heads up: there is not a single foodstuff the eating of which will protect you from cancer. Not even a little bit.) I will insist that thou shalt cook while also not running from the stinkiest of foods even if they smell of death. The best foods in life smell lightly of death.

I will insist that thou shall honour thy pig. Or anybody else’s pig for that matter. Because everything is improved by the application of a little pig.

Obviously, there’s a chance this will make you hungry. Don’t worry. The book comes with recipes, for things to eat with your hands, using the stinkiest of foods, that honour thy pig and much more besides.

So come with me as I lead you to the culinary promised land.

The Ten Food Commandments 2.indd



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