Glorious Game Face Publications, £40
The beginning of the game season has been marked in Britain for centuries with the first arrival of wild grouse or venison lovingly transformed into grand feasts each August.
But, for many, shooting, stalking and hunting game is an antiquated practice associated with the upper classes and, in recent decades, the marking of the Glorious Twelfth has coincided with the dusting-off of placards calling for it to be scrapped.
Glorious Game sets out the opposing argument, calling on diners to think again about a meat that is sustainable, healthier than farmed produce and much better for the environment.
It is also a passionate celebration of this flavoursome, versatile produce, with 101 esteemed chefs and food writers sharing their favourite recipes – spanning everything from Mark Halley’s shooter sandwich and Richard Corrigan’s grouse pie to Jason Atherton and Paul Foster’s intricate presentations of wild duck and red deer.
The book is dedicated to the late Andrew Fairlie – whose recipe for Perthshire roe deer, damson purée and toasted spices features – and was produced as a collaboration between the Moorland Communities Trust and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
The foreword is given by Ben Tish, culinary director of the Stafford hotel in London, who describes game as “one of the most important topics in the food world right now”, listing its many virtues before extolling the fantastic flavour and diversity of wild meat.
The produce may have a reputation for stiff, heavy banquets headed by Henry VIII-like figures, but such myths will be dispelled on sight of Neil Rankin’s salt and pepper smoked quail with smacked cucumber, Graham Garrett’s steamed hare bun with chocolate sauce and Martin Morales’ escabeche de salmon Andina.
Credit is also due to the production value of this tome, the beautiful photography and design – down to the gold edging of pages – all reinforcing the celebratory nature not just of this beautiful British produce but of the versatility and creativity of the nation’s food scene.
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