When Diana Henry was sixteen she started a menu notebook (an exercise book carefully covered in wrapping paper) in which she wrote up the meals she wanted to cook. She kept this book for years. Putting a menu together is still her favourite part of cooking. Menus aren’t just groups of dishes that have to work on a practical level (meals that cooks can manage), they also have to work as a succession of flavours. But what is perhaps most special about them is the way they can create very different moods – menus can take you places, from an afternoon at the seaside in Brittany to a sultry evening eating mezze in Istanbul.
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