Books describe eating slowly in the North East and the attractions of South Shields

PUBLISHED: 08:37 02 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:39 20 February 2013

Books describe eating slowly in the North East and the attractions of South Shields

Books describe eating slowly in the North East and the attractions of South Shields

Jo Haywood speed reads two new guides dedicated to life in the slow lane

Sit down while you read this. No really, I insist. Stop whatever else youre doing, make yourself a cuppa (filter, not instant), turn your phone off, press the mute button on the kids (lock them in the shed if it helps), take a deep, cleansing breathe, put your feet up and chill out with your favourite magazine (no, not Grazia - this one).
You can hare around all you like for the rest of the week, but this is your dedicated tortoise time. And first up on our slow journey of discovery is Eat Slow Britain, 19.99 from Alastair Sawday Publishing, the pioneering eco-business dedicated to slow living.
This beautifully-presented, carefully compiled book (they obviously took their time over this one) is a must for food-lovers who delight in lifes simple pleasures. If you enjoy proper food - home-grown, organic stuff thats not been mucked about with too much - presented with care in convivial surroundings, this is the gourmet guide for you.
Food is a big issue; we cannot turn our backs on it, said company founder Alastair Sawday. Our food heroes will inspire readers to make a difference and to seek out food grown with love and cooked with flair.
They will discover the power of their pound and how every meal they eat and the food they buy can contribute to a brighter future for Britains farmers and food producers.
The book is a real celebration of food grown and cooked regionally. Like the pease pudding and pan haggerty (fried potatoes, onion and cheese) produced in the kitchen of The Feathers Inn at Hedley on the Hill, Stocksfield.
Apart from a few lemons, oils and spices, owners Helen Greer and Rhian Cradock source pretty much all their produce locally. Their beef and lamb supplies can often be seen grazing in the surrounding pastures; their rare breed pork comes from just across the Tyne; their fish is landed at North Shields or hooked in nearby rivers; their game is shot on the nearest estate; their rare potato varieties are grown just over the Scottish border; and their farmhouse cheeses are made in Northumberland and Teesdale.
This is just one of many beautifully illustrated stories in this inspirational book, which also contains features on
the slow food movement, details of courses on smallholding and cooking, and numerous links to useful websites and blogs.
The second of our laid-back books is To Hull And Back, by The Times travel writer Tom Chesshyre (8.99, Summersdale), who decided to ditch his usual slow boat to China in favour of an even slower train to South Shields.
This is just one of the oft-forgotten secret spots of Unsung Britain he picks out in his off-the-beaten-track search for the UKs least touristy destinations.
Along the way, he not only discovers that South Shields is awash with history and some of the best fish and chips known to man, but also that everything is quite green in Milton Keynes, theres a real-life superhero in Norwich and that Hell is actually the name of rather a nice bay in the Isles of Scilly.
And thats it. Tortoise time is now officially over, so feel free to hare off
and finish the rest of your day at break-neck speed.

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