Friday 19 May 2023

My World Café - a delicious read

19 May: A great evening of readings from My World Café at

Bookmarks Bookshop with a discussion led by Jan Woolf. Here is

Jan with three 'chapters' from my book,, Anne Aylor, Alaistair

Hatchett and Ken Livingstone. Thank you Ursla Hawthorne (2nd 

photo) and Bookmarks Bookshop for hosting the evening.

Great to meet old friends who remain good friends. You can buy

the book at Bookmarks and other London bookshops, or order

from Riversmeet.

"Lovely stuff from the author's swag-bag: traveller's

tales and gorgeous drawings plus liver and bacon.

What more could anyone want?" Elisabeth Luard,

food writer and broadcaster

"In David Wilsons 'My World Café', we cross time and 

space as we joyfully consume our way through a plethora 

of chapters on recipes which mark the stages of David's 

extraordinary life crisscrossing the earth, and all rooted 

in his socialist politics”  Merilyn Moos,: author of

 'Breaking The Silence', 'The Language of Silence', 'Beaten but not

 Defeated' and 'Anti-Nazi Germans'

"Eclectic, delightfully eccentric, historical, political

and mythological. Generously illustrated with Laura

Davis' charmingly quirky drawings. Altogether a

delicious thing." Lesley Glaister, writer and


"We totally love your book.  You brought back memories of Mervyn 

Levy and Gustav Delbanco.  My god, those guys...."  Michael Walling,

 artistic director, Border Crossings  


Riversmeet Productions:  “Our third book is My World Café with

words by David Wilson and illustrations by Laura


A stew of food stories, memories and recipes from around the world,

 ranging from popcorn to borscht, apple strudel to burritos, baklava to

 teriyaki. Each chapter includes a brief history of the food, a personal

 memory and a recipe.’

(Maureen Casey, Laura Davis, Anne Aylor, David Wilson & Richard Bradbury at London launch on 30/11/22)

David Wilson is a writer and political activist whose work draws upon

 an extraordinary range of experiences throughout a long and varied

 career as a teacher, art agent, filmmaker and aid worker. He was

 involved with setting up a war-time mobile bakery that fed the

 starving people of Mostar and went on to be the first director of the

 Pavarotti Music Centre in Bosnia, whose patrons included Luciano

 Pavarotti, David Bowie, Brian Eno and Tom Stoppard.

Laura Davis is an artist, printmaker, illustrator and graduate of

 Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art. Her inspiration

 comes from folk and outsider art, and from observations of life and


You can order My World Café on the Riversmeet websiteUK price:

 £12 inclusive of postage & packing. Non-UK price: £13.50, inclusive

 of pp  

It's also on sale  at Bookmarks, Bloomsbury St, London, Housmans at 

Kings X, The Owl bookshop in Kentish Town  and at Word on the 

Water on the Regent's Canal at York Way

Camden New Journal review HERE

A big thank you to Camden New Journal for this article. I just want to

say that: 1) I did not write about the historic problems with War Child,

2) I did not convince music stars to record for the HELP

 album, that was was Brian Eno, and 3) The Pavarotti

 Music Centre is better known for rock music than

 classical. NOTE: For Londoners, 'My World

 Café' can be bought at the Owl bookshop in

 Kentish Town and online using the Riversmeet link.

International Times review HERE  

My World Café is David’s second book. Left Field: The Memoir of a

 Lifelong Activist was published by Unbound in 2016. 

Praise for Left Field

“David has lived a life and a half. The broken world needed people

 like David; it still does.”—Sir Tom Stoppard 

This is an excellent and inspiring book. David is an adventurer and a

 freethinker, who did something truly useful with his life.”—Brian Eno

The London launch took place ar Made in Brasil on 30 November, Thank you Riversmeet, Haifa Zangana who returned from Tunisia to be there and Deicola Neves who flew in from Spain. Also all who came to join me there. A great night.

I am delighted to say that several people who feature in the book were at the London launch at Made in Brazil on 30 November: Jim Brann, who helped me with the mushroom chapter, Haifa Zangana with tepsi baytinjan, an Iraqi recipe, Sebastian and Gráinne Balfour with Catalan calçots, Jan Woolf with courgette pie, and  Anne Aylor with popcorn, as well  as  fulfilling her role as my Gordon Lish. Finally Deicola Neves with Brazilian picanha and he played guitar. Check him out on this link. 

From author/artist Jan Woolf  -

It's a fine read - food, politics, activism. David Wilson writes beautifully and the illustrations by Laura Davis dance on the page. Oh, and me and my courgette pie are in it!

What readers are saying about MY WORLD CAFE

"Lovely stuff from the author's swag bag: traveller's tales and gorgeous drawings plus liver and bacon. What more could anyone want?" Elizabeth Luard, broadcaster and food lover

“A worldfest of a book - a tribute to the bonding power of shared food as a force for enlightenment. The book’s Rabelaisian gusto put me in mind of Proust’s madeleine - of the joyous childhood pleasures of picking mushrooms before breakfast with my Irish grandmother and foraging for berries to make the juicy summer puddings you describe from your youth.” Edwin Maynard

"Take odes to the pleasures of shared eating and season with nuggets of nutrition, politics, philosophy, travel, biology, biography, botany, history, geography, cooking … and you have ‘My World Cafe’. Enjoy.' " Jim Brann

“ ‘My World Café’ tells the stories of David Wilson’s favourite meals and recipes and is filled with a warm blend of stories of friendship, history and politics along with dishes enjoyed around the world including liver-and-bacon, borscht, strozzapreti and goulash.” Camden New Journal

“ ‘My World Café ’ is a celebration of something as necessary to our survival as oxygen and love. Each recipe is delivered in the company of a person important to him, the memory of taste heightening the memory of that person and place, with the history of the food folded in like a delicious batter.” Jan Woolf, International Times

“In ‘My World Café we cross time and space as we joyfully consume our way through a plethora of chapters on recipes which mark the stages of David's extraordinary life crisscrossing the earth, and all rooted in his socialist politics.” Merilyn Moos, author of 'Anti-Nazi Germans'

“Eclectic, delightfully eccentric, historical, political and mythological. Generously illustrated with Laura Davis' charmingly quirky drawings. Altogether a delicious thing.” Lesley Glaister, writer and reviewer

“We totally love your book. You brought back memories of Mervyn Levy and Gustav Delbanco. My god, those guys….” Michael Walling. Artistic director, Border Crossings

“An enjoyable journey of meals the author has eaten that stretch deeply in each country's history. A book full of stories and recipes spiced with the warmth of friendship.” Haifa Zangana

“Wow! What a life...such lovely illustrations too.” Inga Baystrom

“What a rich medley of food, politics, travel and interesting people !I am determined to try some of the recipes. A lovely book.” Carol Ritchie

“It makes a great read.” Anthea Norman-Taylor

“You have found a brilliant way of being able to bring so many great stories together.” Diana Boyer

"I have really loved 'My World Café' - so full of life and warmth, and a wealth of cracking anecdotes”. Annemarie Nearly

"He has been eating (and drinking) with me at my home for over 25 years. When with us he completes my family. As he says, along with the lamb, “there is always music, singing and tavla. See you soon David." Orhan (Oha) Maslo


contact author at 

Send your photo to me at: or to Riversmeet at;

Gillian Howell, Melbourne

Thursday 18 May 2023

Lord Trout


Here is the redacted version of a food chapter left out of 'My World Café'. Names of people and places have been changed. Drawing by my wonderful illustrator, Laura Davis.


My childhood years in London were a time of post-war food rationing, but there was no shortage of fish. During war time, sea fishing had been restricted and afterwards our coastal seas had plentiful shoals.

Every week my mother fried cod, haddock, skate or plaice, but I remember clearly my first memory of eating fish out of the home. I was seven when my father took me to a fish and chip shop in Bromley High Street. I was fascinated by the gurgling oil vats and the smell of sizzling fish. He ordered battered cod for both of us, the chips wrapped in a page from the Daily Mirror; paper cone sprinkled with salt and dribbled with vinegar.

This will have been common to many readers of my generation, but few will have eaten other sea fish such as salmon, halibut and Dover and lemon sole. Even in the 1950s, these were rarities which only made it into the mouths of the well-to-do.

This was also true of freshwater fish. In writing this chapter I discovered that in England and Wales there are 40,000 miles of rivers, but less than 4% have public access. The person who owns the riverbank also owns the fishing rights.

As a member of the well-to-do, I was sent to Canford Public School in Dorset (for American readers public = private). There I fished on the River Stour which ran through the school grounds. My favourite spot was below the weir where, using a spinner, I used to catch pike, roach and the occasional trout. I can still see the 8- pound rainbow trout which the school chef kindly cooked for me and which I shared with my friends. It was a rare memory, and a rare break, from the weekly fishcakes.

It would be another forty years before I was to eat trout again. I was helping to organise medical programmes for War Child in Croatia and Bosnia when I received a call from the House of Lords. It was Lord Trout inviting me to lunch. He said he wanted my advice on a medical project.

This was not an invitation I was eager to accept. I had no desire to be hosted by an aristocrat in the unelected chamber of Parliament, the last

bastion of our feudal history. But when he said he was a ‘rapporteur’ for the countries of the former Yugoslavia, advising hospitals, how could I refuse?

Before I left for the lunch, I checked out his background. The family’s estate is located on the banks of a river, well stocked with fish. During our meal I was looking for the opportunity to tell him my fishing joke.

Before our meeting, I hadn’t looked up how to address my host: “Your Earlship”, “Your Lordship”? “Your honour”? I went for the option of nothing at all. I scanned the menu and decided I would eat fish.

“What would you like to start with?” he asked.

“I’ll take the haked ham hock with pickled shallots please, and for the main course I’ll go for the rainbow trout.”

“Wise choice. The fish here are very good.”
I then asked him how I could help him with his work in Croatia.

“I’m told that you provided a ventilator to Zagreb’s Klaićeva childen’s hospital and are now supplying insulin for diabetic children in Bosnia. I have been asked to advise on setting up a maternity unit in S. I have to know how many beds will be needed.”

“I’m afraid I have no idea, but I suspect there’s a ratio which will help you.”

“A ratio?”
“Based on the town’s population.”

“Oh that’s very interesting,” his Lordship said and opened his notebook to start writing.

“You could contact the British Medical Journal or The Lancet and check if they have any information.”

He continued scribbling. “Very interesting, thank you.”

“Or you could contact the World Health Organisation.”

“Oh yes, of course.”

“ Have you been to S? You could ask them how they managed before the war.”

“Very interesting. Thank you so much.” He scribbled a bit more, then closed his notebook. “Coffee on the terrace?”

I hadn’t dared tell him my joke which went like this. A miner was caught by a gamekeeper fishing on the river that ran through the grounds of a vast estate owned by an atistocrat. Hauled before the landowner, the miner was told that he was trespassing.

“How dare you steal fish. This is my land”, spluttered the angry Lord. “Why is it your land?” asked the miner.

“It has been in my family for generations, from the time of my great-great- great grandfather,” replied his lordship..

“How did he get it?” asked the miner.

“He fought for it.”
The miner raised his fists, “Well then we’ll fight for it.”

On my way out I passed a line of wheelchairs with name tags of their owners on each one: “Lord X”, “Lady Y”, “The Earl of Z”.



6 Rainbow trout fillets
6 lemons, sliced
350 g red cabbage, finely shredded
olive oil
sea salt and ground white pepper to taste 2 tbsp red wine vinegar 1 cup sour cream 1 tbsp dill, chopped
sour cream


Trim the trout fillets and remove as many bones as possible. Tip the cabbage and oil into a large bowl and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the cabbage in a large frying pan, lifting and tossing to keep the cabbage moving. Pour on the vinegar and mix in the dill, then cover and and steam/cook for a minute. Place sliced lemon inside each fillet, spray with oil and cook for 2 minutes each side. Serve by putting the cabbage into the middle of each dinner plate, lean the fish against the cabbage and serve the sour cream on the side.