Day 4/10 of my cookbook challenge, the books and cooks who have influenced my kitchen over the past 40 years: the late Keith Floyd’s Floyd on France.
The inimitable Keith Floyd came laughing, ad-libbing, drinking and generally causing mayhem on our tv screens in 1985 and this book was published by BBC Books in 1987. I remember going to see him perform his one-man show at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds in about 2007; when asked how long he’d be on stage for, he announced that it would be for as long as it took him to drink the bottle of claret and smoke the 20 cigarettes he had on the table beside him and so it did!
His recipes for Pâté de Campagne, Boeuf à la Bourguignonne and Coq au Vin are still amongst the best you can draw upon as a home cook. Not only did Floyd bring his own special magic to tv cookery shows with his producer, the late David Pritchard (who went on to work with Rick Stein), he influenced the careers of many chefs such as Stein, Gary Rhodes (both featured as young unknowns in his programmes) and Jamie Oliver because the public loved the pure energy and enthusiasm he had for good food. If I want an encyclopaedia on French cooking and techniques, I’ll turn to my epic copy of Larousse Gastronomique but for hearty home fare, Floyd has been my go-to guide.