The Pedant in the Kitchen

The Pedant in the Kitchen by Julian Barnes The Pedant in the Kitchen by Julian Barnes

The Pedant in the Kitchen is a perfect comfort for anyone who has ever been defeated by a cookbook.

The Pedant's ambition is simple. He wants to cook tasty, nutritious food; he wants not to poison his friends; and he wants to expand, slowly and with pleasure, his culinary repertoire. A stern critic of himself and others, he knows he is never going to invent his own recipes (although he might, in a burst of enthusiasm, occasionally increase the quantity of a favourite ingredient). Rather, he is a recipe-bound follower of the instructions of others.

It is in his interrogations of these recipes, and of those who create them, that the Pedant's true pedantry emerges. How big, exactly, is a 'lump'? Is a 'slug' larger than a 'gout'? When does a 'drizzle' become a downpour? And what is the difference between slicing and chopping?

"The funniest piece of food writing - my own theoretical metier - that you will ever read." -Giles Coren, The Times

"I hope The Pedant continues to cook; a sequel would be most delicious." -Lisa Markwell, The Independent



English Editions

The Pedant in the Kitchen. London: Atlantic Books, 2003. £9.99. Print run: 15,000
[First hardback edition containing 17 colour illustrations by Joe Berger.]

The Pedant in the Kitchen. London: Atlantic Books, 2004. Pp. 136 (Paperback)

The Pedant in the Kitchen. London: Atlantic Books, 2012 (Reissued in hardback)

Translated Editions

German - Fein gehackt und grob gewürfelt: Der Pedant in der Küche. Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2012. Pp. 144. Translated by Gertraude Krueger. ISBN: 9783462044386. Other edition: Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2004. Pp. 160. Translated by Gertraude Krueger.

French - Un homme dans sa cuisine. Paris: Collection Bibliothéque étrangère, Mercure de France, 2005. Pp. 160. Translated by Josette Chicheportiche. ISBN: 2715225083.

Romanian - Pedantul în bucatarie. Bucuresti: Nemira, 2006. Pp. 183. Translated by Marina Radu.

Spanish - El perfeccionista en la cocina (The Pedant in the Kitchen). Barcelona: Editorial Anagrama, 2006. Pp. 136. Translated by Jaime Zulaika. ISBN: 9788433971012.

Dutch - Wijsneus in de keuken. Amsterdam/Antwerpen: Uitgeverij Atlas, 2014. Pp. 160. ISBN: 9789045028255.


10/12/2003 - From Flaubert to Flamb - Emily Bearn, Sunday Telegraph (London) p.3


09/09/2012 - The recipe for clarified meaning - Lisa Markwell, The Independent

08/23/2012 - Why Cooking by the Book Is Always a Recipe for Disaster - Roger Lewis, Daily Mail

04/20/2004 - Recipe's Right for Kitchen Phobic - Zoé Robinson, Newcastle Chronicle & Journal p.2

03/14/2004 - Ingredients for a Great Read - Graeme Phillips, Sunday Tasmanian (Australia) p.47

02/17/2004 - Julian Barnes: The Pedant in the Kitchen - Michele Hewitson, New Zealand Herald

12/05/2003 - The Best Possible Taste - Jane Jakeman, TLS (5253) p.29

11/29/2003 - Simply a Recipe for Trouble - Anne Fussell, Courier Mail (Queensland, Australia) p.M07

11/29/2003 - Take Two Blokes, Add Wit To Taste - Helen Greenwood, Sydney Morning Herald p.12
[Also reviews Nigel Slater's The Story of a Boy's Hunger]

11/19/2003 - Consuming Passion - Nellie Blundell, Time Out p.49
[Brief Q&A with Julian Barnes about a number of culinary issues]

11/15/2003 - Receipts and Recipes - Elfreda Pownall, The Spectator p.55

11/15/2003 - Triumph of Ambition Over Ability - Caroline Foulkes, Birmingham Post p.47

11/02/2003 - Too Much of a Good Thing - Matthew Fort, The Observer p.15

10/26/2003 - Flaubert's Carrots - Max Davidson, Sunday Telegraph (London) p.15

10/25/2003 - The Blurb: The Pedant in the Kitchen - Rosemary Goring, The Herald (Glasgow) p.7

10/22/2003 - 86 Years Old and Still Cooking Up a Treat - Beachcomber, The Express p.44

10/21/2003 - Barnes's Tasty New Recipe - Nina Caplan, London Evening Standard

10/19/2003 - Simple Recipes Should Be Made to Measure - Alan Taylor, The Sunday Herald p.11

10/15/2003 - What Jamie Could Teach Julian - Judy Rumbold, The Guardian (London) p.5