Culture Vulture: Things to Do in Edinburgh this August

Orlagh McCarron presents a bite-sized guide to the tastiest treats Edinburgh has to offer festival goers this August

Feature by Orlagh McCarron | 15 Jul 2009
  • Plane Food Cafe

Fewer things on this earth are more reassuring than the thoughts, smells and memories of the simple yet hearty wholesome meals of your childhood. And never before has the smell of Mum’s Sunday roast, or the comfortable stodge of a shepherd’s pie been more in demand than in these turbulent economic times. At this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival, Sunday Times food columnist Sue Lawrence talks about her book Taste Ye Back: Great Scots And The Food That Made Them, a collection of seventy leading Scottish celebrities about their families, childhood and their relationship with food and how it helped shape them into what and who they are today. The Caledonian great and good are all included: Ewan McGregor (who wrote the foreword for the book), Andy Murray (whose first memory is having a bowl of custard thrown over his head) and Gordon Ramsay who began life with rather simpler tastes, citing porridge as his favourite childhood food. This leading food writer promises to deliver an hour of pure food nostalgia, offering up a unique insight into growing up in twentieth century Scotland and the influences that helped mould some of Scotland’s most prominent personalities. You can’t help but be inspired to strip mealtimes back to the simple basics and make it like Granny use to. 

The Book Festival's laidback tented village (run there for a G&T if the weather's good) also plays host to other delicious highlights, including Tristram Stuart offering up food for thought by posing the question of how to feed the world while simultaneously reducing the 30 – 50% of food wastage caused by Western greed, Masterchef finalist Fiona Bird on healthy eating for kids and Nel Nelson offering up innovative ideas on improving your emotional and physical well-being by relating daily diet to daily routine. 

Turning to the Fringe, runner up of Celebrity Masterchef, author of Independent Book Award-nominated Indian Takeaway (depicting his attempts to cook his way around Britain), occasional Question Time panellist and multi-tasking man of many words Hardeep Singh Kohli will be making his stand-up debut with culinary flair. The Nearly Naked Chef (you can thank the frying pan for that) will highlight the huge impact growing up with Sikh parents had on his cooking, mixing them up with top food tips and anecdotes aplenty. 

Injecting a little novelty into the Festival is performance art prankster Richard Dedomenici with his Plane Food Cafe. Part café, part installation, part performance, Dedomenici will be serving up genuine airline cuisine in plastic trays as the audience discover just how and why inflight meals taste different on the ground. Richard's previous performances have included pointing all the guns on HMS Belfast onto his mum's house in Watford, so chow down with caution. 

With such a diverse selection of dynamic, innovative food writers and experts, this August you are sure to rediscover your passion and understanding of the food you eat, making mealtime less about necessity and more about creative fun.

Tickets and info from: www.edfringe.com www.edbookfest.com