Foodists: Writing about eating from the London Review of Books

‘Food, like sex, is mostly in the head,’ writes John Bayley in the piece which gives this anthology its title. Sure enough, in the LRB’s pages, food has often been a medium to think about other things: about history, literature, art, cultural criticism, philosophy and – in the second half of the paper’s lifetime – more political concerns, too, such as agro-industry, ecology and inequality. This changing emphasis is salutary, but these essays also serve to remind us that food is fun, and that nothing about it is ever completely new. As his 1980 piece about vegetables makes clear, E.S. Turner, a contributor born when Edward VII was king, knew that avocados were a ‘cliché’, and that is was hard work pretending to like kale.