South Wind Through the Kitchen: The Best of Elizabeth David

Elizabeth David

Published by North Point Press, 1998
ISBN 10: 0865475350 / ISBN 13: 9780865475359
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Hardcover, Book and Jacket AS NEW/AS NEW. FIRST American by North Point Press, 1998. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: An irresistible compilation of excerpts and recipes from Elizabeth David's literary works on food includes authentic recipes with fresh ingredients and a treasury of provocative articles, as well as a fascinating historical account of food. 10,000 first printing.

Review: The American food writer M.F.K. Fisher struggled in her time and writing to establish a way of talking about food. The British food writer Elizabeth David, who overlapped Fisher at about the time World War II was winding down, struggled to bring an accurate sense of the foods of the Mediterranean to the table. Both ladies had their cranky sides. There are moments reading David when it feels as though she has just cracked the back of your knuckles with the handle of a wooden spoon. There are times, too, when she pulls you up close to the stove and fans the aroma of delicious food up toward your face, and enjoys the way your nostrils quiver. In both cases David is there to wake you up.

South Wind Through the Kitchen is a collection of the best of Elizabeth David's writings, selected by food writers and food professionals who dearly loved the woman and who were deeply affected by her brilliance. There's nothing quite like a David prose passage that sets place and time, personality and ingredients, and then as almost an afterthought delivers her notes on how a dish is assembled, like this one from Mediterranean Food:

Displayed in enormous round shallow pans, these tomatoes (stuffed tomatoes &agravel la Grecque), together with pimentos and small marrows cooked in the same way, are a feature of every Athenian taverna, where one goes into the kitchen and chooses one's meal from the pans arrayed on the stove.... Peering into every stewpan, trying a spoonful of this, a morsel of that, it is easy to lose one's head and order a dish of everything on the menu.

Cut off the tops of a dozen large tomatoes, scoop out the flesh and mix it with 2 cups of cooked rice. To this mixture add 2 tablespoons of chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of currants, some chopped garlic, pepper, and salt, and, if you have it, some leftover lamb or beef. Stuff the tomatoes with this mixture and bake them in a covered dish in the oven (350 degrees) with olive oil.

She was out there early, wandering around France and Italy, setting a stage and a tone for everyone who has followed. She traipsed through the Mediterranean countries, the Levant, North Africa, opening up a world of flavor, spice, and technique that must have seemed wildly exotic to a postwar Great Britain struggling with the remains of wartime food rationing. The clouds parted, and there was Elizabeth David, full and warm.

And like the sun, she remained something of a unique presence unto her own. It's interesting that these two grand dames of food writing were both essentially loners. You will find in M.F.K. Fisher the language of food. You will find in this lovely collection of Elizabeth David's writing the language of food, and all the rest, too. --Schuyler Ingle

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Bibliographic Details

Title: South Wind Through the Kitchen: The Best of ...
Publisher: North Point Press
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Hardcover
Illustrator: Some Illustrations.
Book Condition: As New
Edition: 1st Edition

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Elizabeth David
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Book Description Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Hardcover. Condition: Fair. A readable copy. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. Pages can include considerable notes-in pen or highlighter-but the notes cannot obscure the text. An ex-library book and may have standard library stamps and/or stickers. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G0865475350I5N10

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