My career as a travelling gourmet is in trouble. I blame my friends. Instead of inviting me to fancy restaurants, these "friends" are now cooking. What am I supposed to review when I am waddling from one friend’s house to the next, full to the brim after one lovely serving after the other? When my friends are not cooking for me they are giving me books about eating. Just the other day my friend Gavin Yeats gave me an astonishingly satisfying book called Between Meals. It’s a collection of articles by the writer AJ Liebling as he chomped his way through France in the 1940s and 1950s. Liebling loved food. He was depressed by the rise of fads that concentrated on health at the expense of pleasure. He wrote: "In the heroic age before the First World War, there were men and women who ate, in addition to a whacking lunch and a glorious dinner, a voluminous souper after the theatre or other amusements of the evening. I have known some of the survivors, octogenarians of unblemished appetite...

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