Hello, and welcome to the Cooking With Booze blog. I’m James, the guy who wrote the book. Yeah, I know it says George Harvey Bone on the cover. Let me tell you about that…
I used to be an editor at Snowbooks, a totally sweet little publishing company. In 2006, we won small publisher of the year at the British Book Trade Awards. That’s me on the right, wearing the award as a hat. But that’s not important right now.
While there, I came up with the idea for the book, and though I’m no longer at Snowbooks they said they’d still publish it, so away I went. (Before that, I’d worked for Oddbins for years, which is why I’m so into booze, and no, there’s no way you’re seeing any of the photos from those years.)
The book is written in character, appropriately I think, as an old roué, my alter ego/the voices in my head; although there’s plenty of nods to my real-life friends and relatives. Naming the alter ego came pretty easy as I’m a huge fan of a novelist and playwright called Patrick Hamilton.
Hamilton (1904 – 1962) wrote a series of novels and plays, many of them set in the London demi-monde of the 1930s and 1940s, with a cast of drinkers, prostitutes, and general Soho and Earls Court low-life. They’re pretty bleak and misanthropic, but wonderfully described and blackly funny. Probably the most famous of them is Hangover Square, which tells the story of George Harvey Bone (aha!), a West London loser and boozer, his infatuation with the (to him) gorgeous Netta, a failed actress, and his slow descent into alcoholism and madness. Cheery stuff. Anyway, it’s brilliant. Read it.
So, I’ve brought George back to life, in happier times, to share some of the Bone family cookbook with you. Hope you like it. Let me know what you think.