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The Virtues of the Table

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Winner: Special Commendation, 2014 André Simon Awards

Winner: 2015 Salon London Transmission Prize

“Baggini’s open-mindedness in the face of received opinion suggests he won’t mind our objections: if his mission is to make us find out more about food, and to reflect on those findings for ourselves, then The Virtues of the Table will be a great success.”

4* review in the Daily Telegraph

“Several writers have attempted philosophies of food. This philosopher does a better job and with more humour.”

Tim Haywood, Financial Times Books of the Year

“This is a fresh, farm-to-table volume that considers its subject in the round, and attempts to put, as its author has it, ‘the quotidian at the heart of ethics’.”

Erica Wagner, Financial Times

“There is a consistency to his arguments, whether he is savouring rustic Italian pasta or dining in a fabulously expensive restaurant. Each chapter ends with a mouth-watering description, not strictly a recipe, of how to prepare a wholesome treat, from fisherman’s stew to soda bread. A book that stimulates mind and palate.”

Tom Moriarty, Irish Times

“Baggini brings the rigor of the academic philosopher to bear on thinking seriously about food, from farming to cooking and eating—all subjects that past philosophers have neglected.”

Paul Levy, Wall Street Journal

“Where Baggini is particularly good … is in bringing his sceptical, forensic methods to bear on the ‘new food orthodoxies’; the propaganda we receive about sustainable, organic, seasonal and local produce. Baggini brilliantly picks apart the contradictions and inherent hypocrisies.”

Roger Lewis, The Times

“Julian Baggini has that rare but wonderful gift of being able to be at once profound and highly entertaining. This remarkable book combines the pleasures of the table with those of philosophy, and once again this most engaging of philosophers has achieved a perfect balance. This is a marvellous book.”

Alexander McCall Smith, author

“There is much to relish in this book. A serious philosophy of food that is also a pleasure. Julian Baggini marries sharp observation with rounded discussion, and best of all provides an insightful guide to the range of choices we all have to make about eating and drinking.”

Prof Barry C Smith, Director, Institute of Philosophy

“Eating and thinking, both vital. If one goes down, the other will restore.  A wonderful book.”

Fergus Henderson, chef, founder St John restaurant

“Julian dances through the complex ethical dilemmas around food. With a practical and deeply human philosophy, his razor-sharp intellect brings clarity to our daily lunchtime choices. In a challenging and inspirational tour of allotments, supermarkets and dinner tables, Baggini puts philosophy into our reach: The Virtues of the Table could sit happily alongside the recipe books in everyone’s kitchen.”

Harriet Lamb, CEO, Fairtrade International

“Baggini’s The Virtues of the Table is a virtuoso feast for the mind and soul. Lively, thought provoking read. Bite-sized but filling, this delightful volume is sure to satisfy the philosopher and foodie in us all.”

Francine Segan, Food Historian, Author of The Philosopher’s Kitchen

“Near the beginning of Virtues Of The Table, author Julian Baggini quotes Kant, ‘Sapere aude’ or Dare To Know and that for me really sums up this excellent book. By examining the virtues of all aspects of food, a very broad approach,  the author cuts through all the myths, confusion and lazy thinking  with a precision and humour that enables the reader to think and eat better. If you care about what you eat then you need to buy this book.”

Charlie Hicks, Broadcaster and Greengrocer

…and if you want a laugh, see John Crace’s Digested read parody in the Guardian. Crace had the good grace to say on Twitter, “Fair play to @microphilosophy for taking [the parody] in such good spirit. I actually rather enjoyed his Virtues of the Table”.

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  • Perfectionism has a push and a pull: some are more drawn to the ideal, others more unable to abide the imperfect.