Thursday, 6 December 2007


I have read less than a dozen pages of this book that I bought yesterday and already I want to tell you about it as it is the most forthright and entertaining cookbook I have read in ages. It was first published in 1955, in England, and I am surprised it sold there at all because Mrs David (Oh how proper) is scathing about English cooks, English cookbooks, English housewives and English food writers !
She holds some of my own views : She criticizes people for buying frozen, out-of-season food at high prices when in-season fruits are at their best and so cheap. As she is writing there are fresh and cheap South African pineapples available "...yet people are crowding round the deep freeze in the same shop, paying 4 times as much for a few strawberries in a packet. As soon as strawberries and raspberries are in season they will be clamouring for frozen pineapple..." Mrs David goes on..."I am not unappreciative of modern marvels, and in its way the deep freeze is an admirable invention, but let us not pretend that frozen green peas, beans and strawberries are as good as fresh.(as evidently was claimed in a recent newspaper article of the day) They may indeed be quite adequate but is it necessary to eat all this food out of season?....The deep freeze appears to have gained over the minds of the English housewife and restaurant keeper a hypnotic power.."

This is only the introduction to the book. Stay tuned for more of Elizabeth David's views on summer cooking !

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Somewhere between 1958 and 1965 Mrs David became Elizabeth David! I have several of her books from my Culinary School days or as it was called then Catering School. Daughter of a wealthy Conservative Mp in England she spent the war years in the Mediterranean and Egypt. A colorful character and I notice there are 2 posthumously published collections of her work Harvest of the Cold Months 1995 and Is There a nutmeg in the House.2001