How to Butter Toast

By Tara Wigley, Foreword by Yotam Ottolenghi, Illustrated by Alec Doherty

How to Butter Toast is the antidote to cookbook-overload. In this fun and entertaining recipe book without any recipes, Ottolenghi co-writer Tara Wigley equips you with rhymes and confidence to cook great food instinctively.

Melted butter on hot toast and served up on a plate.

It seems like nothing, really, could be clearer or more straight.

But though, in terms of things required, the number is just two,

there is a lot of wiggle room for what there is to do.

Cook and author Tara Wigley had been to cookery school, read hundreds of cookbooks and developed recipes for over a decade. Yet she found the fewer the ingredients in a recipe, the more confusion there was about how best to make it. The result is How to Butter Toast, a collection of rhymes that will enlighten and entertain, reassure and ultimately liberate the culinarily confused.

The rhymes provide reassuring – and memorable – answers to the culinary conundrums we often face: How long should I boil an egg? What’s the best way to crush garlic? How do I make mayonnaise, a martini or indeed the perfect cup of tea? Tara’s playful take on these food quandaries seems effortless but belies her knowledgeable and carefully researched approach to cooking.

Beautifully packaged with bold and witty illustrations throughout, How to Butter Toast is the perfect gift for cooks of all levels. This is the first book in a series Tara is publishing with Pavilion.

‘I can’t think of many food authorities who can string together words which are as poignant and profound as they are entertaining and ear-pleasing.’ Yotam Ottolenghi

A total joy. Part Dr Seuss, part Ogden Nash, part Julia Child, 100% inspired and inspiringSamin Nosrat

‘Fun and wise, Tara manages to capture the kinds of the things we cogitate about – sometimes without even knowing! – and provides reassuring answers to those confusing everyday conundrums. A collection for when you are weary of recipes and cooking, but not of life itself!’ Helen Goh

‘Those who have followed her ditties on Insta since Lockdown will be delighted, but the detail, the skill, the Ballymaloe cookery school training, the years as co-writer with Yotam at Ottolenghi will save serious cooks a fortune in cookery school fees. How she manages to explain chemistry in rhyme is little short of genius.’ Gilly Smith

Tara brings together her genius for both rhyming and cooking in this witty, illustrated book. Recipes are replaced by rhyming couplets that are entertaining, sometimes silly and always wise. The ditties make the instructions for how to poach an egg, make hummus or even roast a chicken easier to commit to memory.Ravinder Bhogal

“It feels gently revolutionary … Wigley’s book has the makings of a modern classic. Imagine the literary lovechild that might have resulted had Dr Seuss eloped with Elizabeth David. Smuggled within the sing-song is a trove of know-how … in other words: she’s got chops.” The Wall Street Journal

Format: Hardcover
Release Date: 20 Feb 2024
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9780008554712

As the in-house writer of Team Ottolenghi over the last decade Tara Wigley has co-written eight major books, including million-selling Ottolenghi Simple and Falastin. In addition to these, she writes the weekly Ottolenghi Guardian column and the monthly column in the New York Times. She has a dedicated following on Instagram and writes about food in ways that audiences find engaging and informative. She was a judge on the 2022 Fortnum & Mason Food & Drink awards.

‘Full of useful cooking tips and tricks for so many different everyday meals and very tastefully done in gentle rhyme form! Love the uniqueness of this gorgeous little guide, great for family cooking, too!’ Sabrina Ghayour

‘Joyfully bonkers compendium of culinary wisdom.’ The Times, 16 best cookbooks and food writing of 2023

'How to Butter Toast is light-hearted cooking advice told in rhyme. Think Felicity Cloake if she was channeling Ogden Nash'. Niki Segnit

‘In just a couple of hours reading, I feel l've learned more than from reading dozens of recipes. It's something to dip into and return to with delight. A lovely kitchen companion.’ Bee Wilson

‘If you love reading cookbooks as bookbooks then then this is for you.’ Georgie Hayden

‘An ingenious, original, rhyming cookbook.’ Dominique Woolf

‘Can't wait to read it over martinis and poached eggs (probs not together).’ Angela Clutton

‘Brilliant, witty book by one who can write a ditty about anything. A cookbook without recipes – it's a BRILLIANT addition to any book shelf!’ Ravinder Bhogal

‘[A] unique and brilliant rhyming recipe book without any actual recipes but plenty of poems featuring all the clever tips and tricks for making eggs and vinaigrettes and martinis and toast truly your own.’ Martha Delacey

‘Charming’ Nigella Lawson

‘Amazing culinary instruction in poetry’ Tamar Adler

‘Quite unlike any other cookbook you're likely to have come across before. Rather than featuring recipes split into ingredient lists and method steps, it is all written in rhyming verse. Tara's poems offer sage instruction in all manner of essential kitchen tasks, from how to fry an egg to the best way to roast potatoes’ Waitrose Weekend

‘A book packed full of wise words. Useful and fun – something for everyone, whether a beginner or expert in the kitchen' Ed Smith