More than any other food writer of the 20th century, Elizabeth David brought the warmth, colours and flavours of the Mediterranean into British kitchens. In Summer Cooking, first published in 1955, she reveals the abundant joys of summer food. Asparagus with parmesan cheese, cold roast duck served on a bed of freshly picked mint, grilled fish with fennel, broad beans with bacon, aubergines à la Provençale; all of these bring ‘some savour of the garden, the fields, the sea, into the kitchen and dining-room.’ As ever with Elizabeth David, simplicity is the key: for picnics she recommends plenty of thinly sliced salami with olives, French bread and good fresh butter. Summer Cooking is above all a plea, ahead of its time, for fresh, seasonal food as opposed to the ‘hypnotic power’ of the deep freeze and tin.
With the briefest description, Elizabeth David can create a mouthwatering image – ‘A curious thyme which has a scent of caraway seeds is good with roast pork’ – and she has a knack for a memorable phrase: ‘dishes with tomato sauces need basil as a fish needs water. Filled with practical recipes and evocative descriptions, this classic book will inspire and delight. This Folio Society edition is illustrated by Sophie MacCarthy and introduced by Rose Prince, author of The New English Kitchen.
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