A collection of Elizabeth David's short pieces on food and wine.
"Foods of Legend" is a choice example. This essay is astonishingly timely in its discourse on a chef feeling compelled to elevate a humble country dish into haute cuisine. David bases her story on Master Chef August Escoffier's recomposition, over a century ago, of a Provençal favorite: potatoes baked with artichokes onto Carré d'Agneau Mistral, which involved adding truffles and rack of lamb.
Some articles include recipes, but for the most part this is a volume nicely sized to curl up with or to take on a trip. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
David was hired to write food/cooking/dining articles for various print media and paid very little initially. Her job involved traveling in France and Italy, visiting various inns and restaurants and markets--which she apparently enjoyed. I started to title my review "born to late" as I would have liked her job. Europe in the 1960s--especially France and Italy must have been wonderful (well my husband says it was and he lived there then). Imagine eating French cooking for a living!! Ah yes, another vicarious reading experience.
David tells of her travels to "job" locations--why I think this book is part travelog. Sometimes she has been preceded by Henry James or Marcel Proust, but most often by some obscure person who passed through in the mid-1800s or earlier and recorded their experiences for posterity. David describes the meals she and others have eaten, as well as food preparation (growing, transporting, cooking). Her book includes photographs of a few famous chefs. In most she cases provides information about recipes and lists ingredients--details that might help the reader replicate a dish. She warns the reader it is impossible to replicate a dish exactly owing to many conditions, not the least of which is the quality of the basic ingredients. She finds it amusing when a recipe is touted as being "old" and includes a modern ingredient like margarine.Read more ›