Rachel's Favourite Food for Living

It's a jungle out there. With the number of TV chefs vying for our attention (along with all their attendant books), we really need to hack our way through the foliage to discover those worthy of our attention.

With Rachel's Food for Living, Rachel Allen moves effortlessly to the top of the pile, and this book (which accompanies a 13-part BBC prime-time series) does full justice to its video version.

What distinguishes Rachel Allen from so many other chefs is the way in which she appreciates that food must be integrated into our lives, rather than just being fuel or a way of showing off our culinary skills.

As Allen points out, food can be restorative, nurturing and emotionally fulfilling, even apart from its tastiness. As she reminds us, the ritual of eating may be formalised or spontaneous, and the appreciation of the way in which we can approach food in different ways is very much at the heart of Rachel's Food for Living.