Meades’ argument is delivered via notes and digressions dotted through the text, and I confess the distinction between ‘improving’ (permitted) and ‘creating’ (not) was a bit unclear to me until I came to the recipe for Fig and Ham Tart, which contains these instructions: ‘Leave to cool. Taste. Chuck in bin.’ Meades includes the inedible tart as a warning. It is a dish he tried to invent, ignoring his own prescription ‘Never create when you can steal’. Otherwise you can end up with Aubrey’s restaurant menu from Mike Leigh’s Life is Sweet: ‘Black pudding and camembert soup, Saveloy on a Bed of Lychees, Liver in Lager, Pork Cyst, King Prawn (just one) in Jam Sauce’ etc.