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Living and Eating by John Pawson & Annie Bell

c. 2001

by John Pawson

Living and Eating Cookbook Annie Bell John Pawson 6

Written 20 years ago, Living and Eating still holds great rele­vance for us and our mini­mal­ist approach to living. For the past decade, this cook­book has inspired the pared down lifestyle in our own house, with this approach to design as a way of life for us. Archi­tect and designer John Pawson collab­o­rated with chef and food writer Annie Bell to discuss the most personal of rooms, the kitchen. 

Cooking should be plea­sur­able. With 240 recipes, Pawson and Bell delve into the philos­o­phy of simple living and inten­tional choices which, with sound equip­ment, can be applied to cooking, living and eating. To get rid of every­thing that is unnec­es­sary and engage only with what matters is what we find the most impor­tant in our lifestyle. Design is also a lifestyle, and the elements of the kitchen are just as impor­tant as the food on the table. From the oven to the light­ing and storage, Pawson and Bell make sugges­tions for paring down so there is nothing to distract from the food, wine, and process of enjoy­ing your­self and others around the table. Recipes range from dishes as straight­for­ward as radish swirled in butter, to dishes with a few more steps like Chicken Liver Parfait. Pawson and Bell also offer dishes best for certain seasons, suggest­ing Tomato and Basil Lasagna for the hot summer months. The recipes they have pulled together are clean, sharp, and richly flavored, with their love for Gruyère not going unnoticed.

After the recipes comes Pawson and Bell’s approach to the most reward­ing equip­ment, the perfect occa­sions, and the ideal addi­tions to a home to make the eating expe­ri­ence all the more satis­fy­ing, includ­ing candles, specific vases, and fruit bowls. They offer these easy going insights in order to encour­age not having to put on a show of a certain intri­cacy in order to honor your guests. With Living and Eating, the gap between how we eat and how we enter­tain is narrowed.

Although this cook­book has been out of print for over a decade, it’s value is greater now more than ever. At Cooks & Poets, Living and Eating is offered alone or as a set with John Pawson’s new book Home Farm Cooking, which he wrote during quar­an­tine in 2020.

John Pawson

United Kingdom

Few designers have done more with less than John Pawson. A simple expanse of stone, a careful application of glazing—Pawson has spent almost four decades utilizing the tenets of minimalism to create thoughtful spaces to think. Born in Halifax in 1949, Pawson studied both at Eton and at his family’s textile mill before a teaching trip to Japan introduced him to that country’s architectural and aesthetic traditions. After returning to London to study at the Architectural Association, he formed his own practice in 1981. Since then, he’s merged the spiritual and the substantive, devising innovative architectural solutions to the problems of scale and light.

While Pawson has applied his clear-eyed gaze to the theatrical, crafting ballet sets for the L’Opéra Bastille in Paris and London’s Royal Opera House, he’s most at home in residential projects, whether for the jet-set clientele at Ian Schrager’s projects from Hollywood to Miami Beach or Cistercian Monks at the Abbey of Our Lady of Nový Dvůr in Bohemia.

Since even the sparest space must be filled with functional objects, in 2013 Pawson designed the inaugural collection of tableware and home accessories for Beatrice de Lafontaine’s When Objects Work, a collaboration which continues to this day. And after publishing seven books with Phaidon, Pawson was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2019.

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