“In China it’s taken as a compliment if the table cloth immediately surrounding your place is, by the end of the meal, a site of major spillage. … The same principle applies — without any shadow of ambiguity — to cookbooks. The more decorated their pages are with stove-splash, peel-drip, edible Rorschach stains, oil starbursts, beetroot thumbprints and general incoherent dribblings, the more you have honoured them.”
Julian Barnes, The Pedant in the Kitchen. London: Atlantic Books, 2003, 65.