French provincial cooking

by Elizabeth David

Paper Book, 2007

Status

Available

Publication

London : Grub Street, 2007.

Description

COOKING/WINE

User reviews

LibraryThing member kraaivrouw
I grew up reading through cookbooks as if they were novels. I spent a lot of time in my Seattle grandmother's kitchen, or my family's kitchen, sitting on the floor and reading cookbooks and looking at pictures (when I wasn't doing sous chef duties). Cooking or baking occurred throughout these times, as did conversation on many topics, but the cookbook in my lap always had a lot of my attention. I still read them like novels.

I learned to cook and bake through osmosis - watching and helping and eating and talking about all kinds of good food, what made it good, and why certain choices were made. Once I was on my own I really started cooking. My primary tools were The Joy of Cooking and L'Escoffier along with others that I picked up on my own.

Still I often think of Elizabeth David, especially reading A Taste of the Sun on a rainy winter evening, or even a bright summer day. She's up there with Julia Child and James Beard as my favorite writers of what we call food porn in my family. There's something so lovely and conversational about Ms. David, always writing in clear precise prose with sketches of recipes rather than the precise lists that we're used to - Ingredients/Serves/Recipe. I realized when reading this book again that that's the way recipes are shared over the table. "How'd you make that?" "Oh, I took the chicken and did this with it with these herbs and oils and cooking techniqued it for however long." My father and grandmother were very fond of this kind of recipe exchange and for a long time I had sketches like this on the back of envelopes or on notebook pages or whatever else came to hand - these lay around in various places until I wanted them. Once I committed them to memory (by cooking them over and over again) they went the way of all things on the backs of envelopes.

If you haven't read David, you must. She's probably more familiar in England than here (although that may have changed). Her style is anecdotal, but exacting - full of details that may seem picky, but that prove their worth when you use them. Honestly, I think Nigella Lawson wishes she was Elizabeth David - not to criticize Lawson, but David is obviously the template for much of what she does.

What a wonderful read and a great book for building technique and ideas. One word about format - I bought this for my Kindle for the ease of novel reading, but may buy a printed copy depending on how well cooking from this goes. I'm not sure the e-book format has the right feel for cookbooks which should be hefty, well-used, and covered in places with sauce stains.
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LibraryThing member mcglothlen
Another delightful book. Her actual cookery books really are like taking a vacation.
LibraryThing member jontseng
A seminal work, ahead of its time in scope and erudition. Quite well written too. Not to be mistaken for French Country Cooking, which is markedly inferior.
LibraryThing member richard_hesketh
I learned so much watching my mother translate Elizabeth David into home cooking. Later I used her to simplify my own approach and excite other's taste..
LibraryThing member herschelian
I first came across Elizabeth David's writings on food in the 1960s as my mother had several of her books. This is the first one I bought for myself after I had left home. It is a classic, what more can I say. A joy to read, it is so much more than a recipe book, she introduces you to a way of thinking about food and its preparation, the techniques and tools you need and why you need them. I think that if I had a "Desert Island Cookbook" challenge, this is the one I would take, you could use it for ever.… (more)
LibraryThing member overthemoon
a most beautiful book that will never get anywhere near my kitchen (replaces my ancient penguin paperback)
LibraryThing member prps
Really liked the cultural references in the book and how Elizabeth David writes. I must confess that I skimmed through the recipes though.
LibraryThing member NaggedMan
A constant companion for anyone who likes to cook. Not only a source of really good advice and recipes, but her rich anecdotal approach means you may well get distracted into reading it rather than cooking from it! No serious amateur cook should be without this book.
LibraryThing member ponsonby
One of Elizabeth David's first works, born out of her eagerness to bring to an English public a realistic and detailed account of French food - and just as importantly the French attitude to food which she had discovered while living in that country. Marks an important step in the slow process of improving the appreciation of properly prepared food using good ingredients in England. Has beautiful prose and descriptions - her account of the beautiful, simple impromptu lunch she obtained at a wayside cafe in the French countryside is glorious.… (more)

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