Andrew Graham-Dixon presents a personal profile of the legendary food writer Alan Davidson, one of the unsung heroes of the culinary world.
Davidson's greatest work, The Oxford Companion to Food, took him 20 years to write. It's an encyclopaedia of everything a human being can eat, from aardvark to zucchini, all catalogued in 2,650 separate entries. But it is much more than just a food reference book; it is a portrait of the whole human race, its many cultures, customs and histories, all revealed through the stories of what we eat. If you want to understand why the Genoese enjoy dolphin, how to cook a warthog, why the French call dandelions 'piss-en-lit' or who invented Spam, then 'The Companion', as it is known by aficionados, is the place to look.