'Show me another pleasure like dinner which comes every day and lasts an hour.' - Talleyrand 'He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.' - Jonathan Swift `There is no love sincerer than the love of food' wrote George Bernard Shaw in 1903. Poets, novelists, chefs and gourmands before and after him would seem to agree. Collected in this anthology is a mouth-watering selection of excerpts on the subject of eating, drinking, cooking and serving food, guaranteed to whet every reader's appetite. Themed sections group together poetry and prose on grapes and bottles, the ideal cuisine, hangover cures and vivid vignettes of dinner-party behaviour, including Mrs Gaskell eating peas with a knife. There are stories about food fit for kings, a duchess's `rumblings abdominal', fine dining, eating abroad, cooking at home and gastronomic excesses. A section on food and travel features Edmund Hillary's meal at the summit of Everest, Ernest Shackleton's dish of penguin in the Antarctic and Joshua Slocum on the unfortunate effects of cheese and plums while sailing solo around the world. Also on the menu are limericks, short-tempered cooks, recipes, fantasy food, special feasts, iron rations, tips on opening oysters and the uses and abuses of coffee. Featuring writers as diverse as Brillat-Savarin, Edward Lear, John Keats, Collette, Charles Dickens, Maria Edgeworth and Marcel Proust and interspersed with a generous helping of cartoons, this is a perfect gift for foodies, chefs, picnickers and epicurean explorers.