At Elizabeth David's Table: Her Very Best Everyday Recipes Hardcover – Nov 23 2010
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“The food rendered in blooming center-focus color, the images as soft at the edges as a dream… This title serves as a good introduction, to be followed by trips to the used-book store for the originals, best consumed with an omelet and a glass of wine.” (Sam Sifton, New York Times)
“[Elizabeth David] was James Beard, Julia Child, and MFK Fisher rolled into one… She has so much more to tell us than merely how to cook... reading between the lines you come to understand that what Elizabeth David is really saying is to savor every minute of your life.” (Ruth Reichl)
“I am still surprised every time I read Elizabeth David; she defines what it is to be a true food writer, and her words are timeless. This beautiful illustrated anthology reveals her bright spirit... She defends the authentic and the seasonal, and champions simplicity and beauty in the kitchen. ” (Alice Waters)
“Her writing is as timeless as the cuisines she describes. Re-reading her recipes, I am struck again, and again, that each is a seductive little invitation to cook. And if you love to cook, discovering her work is surely one of the greatest pleasures of all.” (Judy Rodgers) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
From the Back Cover
Legendary cook Elizabeth David is the woman who changed the face of British cooking. She introduced a dreary post-war Britain to the sun-drenched culinary delights of the Mediterranean; to foods like olive oil, pasta, and garlic, to fresh herbs like basil and to vegetables like zucchini and eggplant—foods that have become the staples of our diets today. Her recipes brought color and life into kitchens everywhere, yet her books never contained any photographs. Now, published for the first time, comes this full color, beautifully illustrated collection of her most inspiring and delicious dishes. Never before have her recipes been photographed to showcase the richness and variety of the food that she was so passionate about.
Published to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Elizabeth's first book, her instant classic Mediterranean Food, At Elizabeth David's Table has twelve chapters guiding the reader from tasty soups and starters, through to meat, fish and desserts. Sections on successful bread making, as well as more extravagant dishes, ensure that this will become the cooking bible that readers will turn to, time and time again. Interspersed throughout the book are some of Elizabeth's short essays—from how to cook ‘fast and fresh' using store-bought and pantry ingredients, to evocative portraits of French and Italian markets.
With an introduction by Ruth Reichl, the famed editor of the modern classic The Gourmet Cookbook and the irreplaceable Gourmet magazine, and a preface by Jill Norman, literary trustee of Elizabeth David's estate, At Elizabeth David's Table is the must-have cookbook for home cooks, gourmets, and chefs alike.--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese --- unknown and unavailable.
Eggs, butter, olives, tomatoes --- scarce.
That was England in the years after World War II.
(And you wonder why there are jokes about English food.)
Elizabeth David changed all that. She pushed simple French and Italian recipes into the consciousness of English housewives. In short order, groceries started stocking ingredients she championed. Soon enough, you could even find zucchini in English supermarkets.
Elizabeth David was --- almost all the pros say this --- the most important food writer of the last century.
Don't know her? There are reasons. She died in 1992, just as chefs and cookbook writers were becoming celebrities. As a result, though her books were always available, her contribution to our daily meals --- what she described as "simpler food, simply presented" --- has been obscured by those who stand tall because they're climbed onto her shoulders.
Like Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse: "When I go back and read her books now, I feel I plagiarized them. All of it seeped in so much, it's embarrassing to read them now."
More reasons: Elizabeth David was an extremely difficult personality. She was an exacting writer when it came to prose, a little vague when it came to measuring ingredients. She had no patience for dullness or stupidity, and could be a withering conversationalist. And though she wanted her books to be important, she had little desire to be a public figure.
Also, she had a complicated and busy personal life: husbands, lovers, travel. And then, when she was 49, she had a stroke that robbed her --- how cruel is this --- both of her libido and her ability to taste salt.
Forget all of that. Just get "At Elizabeth David's Table: Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom" --- a selection of her most beloved recipes, published in a sturdy format for long use and dotted with terrific photos --- and start cooking.
There is a preface by Ruth Reichl which demonstrates David's effect on many who were learning to cook. It would have been of added interest if she would have included the dates when this happened; she does mention she was 16, but it would give a better idea of what was going on in the world within her preface.
Many recipes have pictures, however, some are the food before it is cooked or in its raw state, such as quails hanging rather than the finished dish. Most recipes are not that complicated, especially for an experienced cook. They include; starters and light dishes, soups, eggs, pasta, vegetables, rice, fish, shellfish and crustacea, meat, poultry and game birds, sauces, sweet dishes and cakes, bread and yeast baking.
Be aware that many recipes are written in narrative style, with the ingredients highlighted slightly in different coloured ink. Even those recipes with a list before instructions, have the ingredients written out in sentence form. This fashion of listing ingredients can be a bit irksome.
Elizabeth David is a cook that many have enjoyed reading and her recipes have much leeway in them since she had the philosophy that her recipes were only suggestions and you can be free to substitute. Her rice bread is amazing, as is the spaghetti with oil and garlic and also gray mullet or another type of fish with olives and white wine.
Anyone who wishes to add a different cookbook to their collection would do well to include Elizabeth David on their bookshelf.