Required Reference

Great works for every shelf

I imagine you’re the same as me,  (probably in error, which i shall explore in a subsequent post) enjoying a drink with friends, or trimming your toenail, or trimming your friend’s toenails over a drink…. when a question arises

I often find my self leaping up on such occasions, scattering clippings and Chablis, in order to grab down a suitable tome wherein to find the answer.

So here, in no particular order are my 5 favourite reference works. Wonderful books to dip into at leisure as well as scouring for quiz answers and pedantry.

The oxford Companion to food

By   Alan Davidson

  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2 edition (21 Sep 2006)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0192806815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192806819

This wonderful book, the result of exhuastive research is a great read. Information on the culinary potential of everything from Aardvark to Zebra

On food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (8 Nov 2004)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0340831499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340831496

Does what it says on the tin. If you want to compare the protein content of human and goat’s milk, find out why bread goes stale, or why burnt meat tastes so good, this is the place to look.

The Cambridge Encylopedia of the English Language

By David Crystal

  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (4 Aug 2003)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0521530334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521530330

Think you know how to talk. Find out why you do it the way you do. This quote says it all

I have been unable to think of a question this book cannot answer … I will risk predicting that Professor Crystal will not be superseded much before the message sent into space on Voyager I … receives an answer.’ Times Literary Supplement

The Oxford English Dictionary

  • Publisher: Clarendon Press; 2 edition (30 Mar 1989)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0198611862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198611868

O.k so not a book i can claim to own. the 20 volumes and 20,000 pages of this huge work just wont fit in my house!

Fortunately the dictionary is available online here.  Even better, if you are in the UK you can access it for free by following a link from the website of your local library and entering your library card number.

The dictionary is currently about 1/3 through a complete revision. You can help by suggesting new words or finding the earliest uses of words.

The new complete book of self-sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers

By John Seymour

  • Publisher: Dorling Kindersley; Rev Ed edition (3 April 2003)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0751364428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751364422

O.k so i’m not going to jack it all in, buy a cow and move to the arse end of nowhere. But it’s nice to know i could. Let’s face it when the bankers finally destroy the economy beyond repair, the oil runs out, and we realise that nobody under the age of 50 knows where butter comes from, books like this are going be like gold dust.

So, in sort i’m the dreamer in the title, but its still a great read and provides lots of ideas for lazy sunday afternoons!

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