John Thorne is my favorite food writer -- heck, he's in my top three writers regardless of genre! He has a very alluring writing style that really speaks to me. Unlike so many contemporary food writers, his writing lacks any trace of pretension. Thorne approaches the task at hand with a contagious enthusiasm that leaps from the page. One is sorely tempted to put the book down and give it a go in nearly every chapter.
Always tracing a subject back to its origins as far as he can, he strives to keep things simple and honest, aligned with their original design (like his incredible Beef and Carrots recipe). He reaches back in time to the primal intentions of a recipe and draws inspiration from the echos of the originators. For Thorne this is a labor of love. He shrugs off modern conventions and trends, preferring to converse one-on-one with the food, the recipe, and the technique.
If you are at all interested in food writing you really owe it to yourself to seek out this classic. Unlike his later volumes (Pot on the Fire, Serious Pig, and Mouth Wide Open) this one out of print and rather hard to find. I found mine at an affordable price on ABE after many patient months of waiting.