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Book review: Elizabeth David On Vegetables

01 July 2013
Book review: Elizabeth David On Vegetables

Elizabeth David on Vegetables
By Elizabeth David (introduction by Jill Norman)
Quadrille, £20

Elizabeth David may have died more than 20 years ago in 1992, but her recipes are as fresh and relevant today as they were when they were first written.

The recipes in Elizabeth David on Vegetables would not be out of place in one of the vibrant new brasseries which understand the importance of working with seasonal produce that has been either freshly picked or gathered from market not long before service.

The 100 or so recipes in the book have been pulled together by Jill Norman, the editor who worked with David over many years and went on to become the literary trustee of her estate. All are written in David's distinctive style, and come from a selection of her books, including the renowned Mediterranean Food (1950), French Provincial Cookery (1960) and Italian Food (1954).

The recipes occasionally list ingredients at the beginning, but more often they are incorporated within the narrative. The book is divided into six main chapters: soups; small dishes; salads; pasta, gnocchi and polenta; rice, beans and lentils; and main dishes.

This is a collection of recipes which have been written from the heart, with a clear understanding
of the sensual pleasures that can 
be gained from the preparation, serving and eating of good food.
It is no surprise that simplicity 
is the common theme throughout - David, after all, abhorred pretentiousness in food and anything that wasn't honest 
and authentic.

With glossy photographs - 
which never appeared in the original books - Elizabeth David 
on Vegetables brings to life the
work of a true icon of the food writing world which, I hope, will go on to inspire a new generation of chefs and keen cooks everywhere.

By Janet Harmer

If you like this, you'll love these:
â- At Elizabeth David's Table: 
Her Very Best Everyday Recipes Elizabeth David
â- Spices, Salt and Aromatics 
in the English Kitchen 
Elizabeth David
â- Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book 
Jane Grigson

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