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Writing at the Kitchen Table: The Authorized Biography of Elizabeth David

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Writing at the Kitchen Table: The Authorized Biography of Elizabeth David Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Elizabeth David's reputation as one of the most influential food writers of the twentieth century rests primarily on her first five books. Mediterranean Food appeared in 1949 when England was still on wartime rations. Before long every self-respecting cook had a copy of it in the kitchen; between 1955 and 1985, more than a million copies of her book were sold. Elizabeth's aim was to bring flavor of these blessed lands of sun and sea and olive trees" into English homes, and her books transformed a generation of cooks by demystifying unfamiliar ingredients like garlic, red peppers and olive oil that have since become everyday cooking staples.

Born in 1913 to a wealthy, well-connected family, Elizabeth Gwynne was privately educated until the age of sixteen, when she was sent to France to learn the language and study at the Sorbonne. After being "finished" in Paris and Munich, she returned to London and worked briefly as an actress, but left again to explore Europe. At the age of twenty-six, she and her married lover, Charles Gibson-Cowan, set-off on a boat bound for Greece. Trapped in Antibes by the war, Elizabeth came under the spell of Norman Douglas, one of the most important influences in her life. She and Charles set sail again just as Italy entered the war, only to find themselves interned in Messina, accused of espionage. Eventually they reached Athens. They spent the winter in 1940-41 on a Greek Island, where Elizabeth first started to cook Mediterranean food.

The German invasion of the Balkans forced them to join refugees fleeing to Egypt. In the raffish Fortunes of War of Alexandria and Cairo, Elizabeth flourished and came to know writers such as Lawrence Durrell and Patrick Leigh Fermor. She also met Tony David, an officer in the Indian army. He proposed to her by letter from Italy and, to the astonishment of her friends, she accepted. After the war and a few months in India, Elizabeth returned to gray rationed England.

Exasperated by the bleakness of English food, she put pen to paper and wrote Mediterranean Food, a book that caught the imagination of a generation was soon followed by French Country Cooking, Italian Food, French Provincial Cooking, and many other titles. In the course of the next decade, the happiest of her life, Elizabeth's books and articles inspired a cookery revolution.

Working from an extensive archive of personal papers, Artemis Cooper reveals the powerful tensions between Elizabeth David's private world and the image of the successful woman she presented to her public. It is a story that even some of her closest friends never knew.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 350-351) and index.

About the Author

Artemis Cooper is the author of Cairo in the War 1939-1945 and Paris after the Liberation (which she cowrote with her husband, Antony Beevor). They have two children and live in London.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060198282
Subtitle:
The Authorized Biography of Elizabeth David
Author:
Cooper, Artemis
Author:
COOPER, ARTEMIS
Publisher:
Ecco
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Cooking
Subject:
England
Subject:
Women food writers
Subject:
General Biography
Edition Number:
1st Ecco ed.
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20000822
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.58x6.45x1.68 in. 1.68 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » Cooking
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » General

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