Matthew Evans has spent four decades as a journalist, chef, farmer, restaurant critic and back-to-basics evangelist. So when he says, “I’ve condensed everything I’ve found out about food in one place, this book,” then you know that you are in for a lot of facts, many years’ research and a really interesting read. For at least 15 years he has been leading the sustainability and traceability message: for the sake of the planet, your conscience, your community and your tastebuds buy locally from small producers; shop at farmers’ markets; only buy meat from ethically raised animals or line-caught fish, and much more. He’s the first to acknowledge that it’s easy to say when you live on a farm in a fertile state and have a career’s worth of experience to draw on, so he allows, “There could well be times when you don’t have the money, or the option, or the energy to care.” And that’s where this book comes in as Matthew wants to help you learn more, to make wiser food decisions and better shopping choices. It has the basics: what exactly is wheat, spelt, semolina or amaranth; what is the difference between jaggery, treacle and molasses? It covers the ethics: a criticism of sea-cage fish farming; some gut- churning descriptions of commercial chicken farms; and it asks and answers, “Isn’t veal cruel?”. And when it comes to cooking, it tells you which cuts of meat taste best or how to tell if a pineapple is ripe. It’s not a book I would buy only for the recipes, though they are sound, fad-free choices of comforting goodness. Overall it’s a book that addresses some of these big and important questions but also recognises that it’s the small questions that really matter, such as what’s for dinner and how can I make it taste good. TRACY WHITMEY