"Elizabeth David's reputation as one of the most influential food writers of the twentieth century rests primarily on her first five books. Mediterranean Food appeared in 1949 when England was still on wartime rations. Before long every self-respecting cook had a copy of it in the kitchen: between 1955 and 1985, more than a million copies of her books were sold. Elizabeth's aim was "to bring a flavor of those blessed lands of sun and sea and olive trees" into English homes and her books transformed a generation of cooks by demysifying unfamiliar ingredients like garlic, red peppers, and olive oil that have since become everyday cooking staples." "Working from an extensive archive of personal papers, Artemis Cooper reveals the powerful tensions between Elizabeth David's private world and the image of the successful woman she presented to her public. It is a story that even some of her closest friends never knew."--BOOK JACKET.