Elizabeth David's influence on our culinary tastes and attitudes was nothing short of revolutionary. Into the bleak post-war British kitchen, she brought the warmth, aromas and tastes of the Mediterranean. A Book of Mediterranean Food, her first great classic, was based on memories of happy years spent in France, Italy, the Greek Islands and Egypt. Combined here with a selection of essays from An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, it reveals a passion for good food as well as a marvellous ability to evoke atmosphere and place, whether it is the beautiful almond country surrounding Valencia or the pleasure of buying piping hot pissaladière in the markets of Marseilles. Here are market stalls piled high with aubergines, tomatoes, melons, figs and limes; wooden barrels of glistening olives; the sheen of rain on an old terracotta oil jar; fresh dates in tortoiseshell colours and the pungent scent of fresh saffron. In the belief that producing good food should always be a 'labour of love', Elizabeth David provides a stunning array of recipes that introduce the reader to the individual flavours that characterise Mediterranean cuisine. Woven throughout are entertaining diversions exploring the origin of recipes and anecdotes from travellers and writers - among them William Beckford, Henry James, Norman Douglas and D. H. Lawrence - and, of course, Elizabeth David's own forthright opinions on the awarding of Michelin stars, the delights of the white truffles of Alba and the lack of a good tomato.
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