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Banish the butter curls

FOOD AND NUTRITION. By Anita Tull. Oxford University Press Pounds 10

EXAMINING FOOD AND NUTRITION. By Jenny Ridgewell. Heinemann Pounds 9.99

Food and Nutrition is an old favourite which has been revised to meet the requirements of the new GCSE home economics syllabuses. Examining Food and Nutrition has been written for the same purpose, but has more current issues, as would be expected from Jenny Ridgewell, whose food technology publications have done so much to influence developments in this area. But the usefulness of both books is limited as the syllabuses are rapidly becoming superseded by DT: food technology which is gaining momentum as an accepted technology option at key stage 4.

The sections on sensory analysis and food properties do, in fact, make the books useful resources for food technology courses. However, with the wealth of new textbooks now available for these courses, as well as materials produced by food manufacturers themselves, it is unlikely that one would contemplate buying these titles other than as single copy reference books.

The sections on nutrition guidelines and legislation affecting food handling, packaging and labelling are a strength in both books. The layout of Jenny Ridgewell's book is by far the more appealing, as is the way in which each topic has been condensed to a maximum of four pages.

Some of the more traditional elements which remain, particularly in Anita Tull's book, act as a salutory reminder of why we needed to move on from these books and syllabuses. The section on food presentation in Food and Nutrition uses the same diagrams (only now in colour) as in the original 1983 edition: waterlily tomatoes, meat frills and butter curls which should have been left where they belong - back in the early 1980s.

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