With gorgeous photography, elegant recipes and an uncluttered aesthetic, architect John Pawson and food writer Annie Bell's book "Living and Eating" is a primer on warm minimalism. Shunning fussy presentation and elaborate preparations, the book celebrates the joy of of a lovingly prepared, simple meal, emphasizing the food itself and enjoyment above all else. As the authors put it, "The result of all this—we hope—is one of harmony."
Originally published in 2001, Pawson and Bell's book shares many of the same values championed by Alice Waters, Judy Rodgers and other leaders of the "California cuisine" movement, albeit with a British perspective and a design that's coffee-table-worthy. Tips on cookware, techniques, food pairings and setting round out the collection of modern classics like Sea Bass Baked in Salt and Poppy Seed Cheesecake. Other standouts include Parmesean-broiled Chicken Breasts and Roasted Pumpkin with Garlic and Chili. But there are plenty of basics as well, and all the dishes boast uncomplicated instructions. The upshot is a book as appealing to seasoned cooks as it is to aesthetes and those of us who are still developing their culinary repertoire.