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By Elizabeth David & Juliet Renny (Illustrator)
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Item description for FRENCH PROVINCIAL COOKING by Elizabeth David & Juliet Renny...

Contains a long essay on French cuisine and offers background stories and sketches of recipes. This book starts with a short essay on each of the major culinary regions of France. It consists of chapters on cuisine by type of dish such as: Sauces, Hors-D'oeuvres and Salads, Soups, Eggs and Cheese, Pates and Terrines, Vegetables, Fish, and others.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   519
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8"
Weight:   1.65 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Publisher   Grub Street Cookery
ISBN  1904943713  
ISBN13  9781904943716  

Availability  0 units.

More About Elizabeth David & Juliet Renny

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Elizabeth David (1913-1992) was one of the most successful food writers of the twentieth century. She discovered her taste for good food and wine when, as a student at the Sorbonne, she lived with a French family for two years. After returning to England she made up her mind to learn to cook, so that that she could reproduce for herself and her friends some of the food that she had come to appreciate in France. Subsequently she lived in France, Italy, Greece, Egypt and India, learning and writing about the local dishes and cooking them in her own kitchen. Her first book, Mediterranean Food, signalled the start of a dazzling writing career, and was followed by many others, now considered classics, such as French Country Cooking", "and Italian Food". "The publication of French Provincial Cooking in 1960 confirmed her position as the most inspirational and influential cookery writer in the English language, and she was the recipient of many awards.Elizabeth David was also interested in the literature of cookery, and at the time of her death she was working on a study of the use of ice, the ice-trade and the early days of refrigeration, published posthumously as Harvest of the Cold Months.

Elizabeth David lived in .. Elizabeth David was born in 1913 and died in 1992.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Cooking, Food & Wine > General
2Books > Subjects > Cooking, Food & Wine > Regional & International > European > French
3Books > Subjects > History > Europe > France > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > General

Reviews - What do customers think about FRENCH PROVINCIAL COOKING?

A great asset for any serious cook!  Jul 8, 2008
This is one of Elizabeth David's classic cookery books, bursting with good advice and as always, beautifully written. Her research was excellent and she always added interesting historical asides and information. If you are looking for a typical recipe book with artfully arranged photos, and the latest trendy dishes, then this will not be for you. The book, written in 1960, has some line drawings, but is otherwise pretty much free of frills.
However, if you are a serious cook, either amateur or professional, and enjoy reading about great French country cusine, this this is for you!
One of the best  Nov 4, 2006
This book assumes that you know something about cooking and working in a kitchen. Many times amounts of ingredients are not specified, but easily guessed at. The recipies are relatively easily prepared and well worth any effort. I have never prepared a poor meal using this book. Ms. David was a leader in Britain in bring continental cooking to the British Kitchen. This is not a new book but still one of the best, and a favorite. I have used it since 1972 and am still finding things to make. Compared to Alice Waters, the preparations are less fussy but equally satisfying. I would recommend this book to a cook who has experience, it is most likely not a good wedding present, but entirely appropriate for the 5th anniversary.
A Fountainhead of Modern American Cuisine  Dec 12, 2003
Elizabeth David is one of foremost writers on food in the latter half of the 20th century and this book has her most celebrated writing. For this reason, I was inspired to write this modest review when I saw this site feature the volume as an offering, 43 years after it's first publication in England.

It is a coincidence of no small meaning that this book appeared within two years before the publication of Julia Child et al's landmark `Mastering the Art of French Cooking'. Child was even worried, when David's book appeared, that it may steal a lot of the thunder from Child and her colleague's effort. The fact is, the two books are very much like the Wittgensteinian `duck rabbit' optical illusion in that they deal with the same subject but from different points of view.

One distinction is that while Child's book is simply a cookbook of French recipes, David's book is a long essay on French cuisine, offering the sketches of recipes more as exercizes to be completed by the reader than as true recipes. In fact, it is one of the most enduring legacies of Child's book that it redefined the detail to which a recipe writer should go in order to adequately communicate the process of preparing a dish.

A second distinction between the two is that they deal with two different facets of French cuisine. As David recites from work by Curnonsky, there is haute cuisine, la cuisine Bourgeoise, la cuisine Regionale, and la cuisine Improvisee. David discourses on the third while Child, et al present the second.

For many, including such luminaries as Jeremiah Tower and Alice Waters, Elizabeth David is the fountainhead of thinking on the French notion of `la cuisine terroir', sometimes interpreted by the notion `what grows together goes together'. For David, this is the heart of regional cooking, and the thing which most distinguishes it from cooking at restaurants where clientele arrive at any time of the year or the day and expect to be able to order virtually any well known French speciality.

One of the passages which best characterizes David's approach to a lot of cooking is her opening statement on the perfect omelette: `As everybody knows, there is only one infallible recipe for the perfect onelette: you own.' I'm sure this would not work for Daniel Boulud, but it works just fine for me, after having seen about five (5) different, contrary techniques on how to make the perfect omelette.

It's interesting to constantly encounter reminders that the book was written before the widespread distribution of Teflon coated cookware, as there is no mention of it, even for egg cookery. I believe the book is all the more valuable for this fact, in that it paints a picture of a cooking style which has irrevokably been changed by technology. A second technological change brought upon the world by the French themselves is the 'robot-coupe' or food processor. It's noteworthy that the device is only mentioned in Notes to the 1985 edition where it is pointed out that the device was a major contribution to both the good and the bad aspects of nouvelle cuisine.

As stated above, the recipes are not as much presented as a blueprint to reproduce every dish cited, but rather to illuminate the discourse. One of my favorites is the entry for Salade Nicoise, where not one but four (4) different variations are given, including the variation of Escoffier.

The sections on French kitchen equipment and French techniques appear to be quite complete and absolutely essential if you embark on reading a cookbook written in French. The book has a short essay on each of the major culinary regions of France, starting. Almost obviously with Provence which is blessed not so much with great culinary talent as a great source of produce, similar, perhaps to the situation in California where the `la cuisine terroir' could take root much more easily than in Toledo or Albany. The largest portion of the book is chapters on cuisine by type of foodstuf or type of preparation such as:

Hors-D'oeuvres and Salads
Eggs and Cheese
Pates and Terrines
Composite Meat Dishes
Poultry and Game
Sweet dishes

The book ends with a bibliography which alone is worth the price of the paperback volume.

This book begs to be read from cover to cover. The only other writers who come to mind of a similar caliber are John Thorne, M.F.K. Fisher, and Harold McGee. Elizabeth David's books belong in the library of anyone who loves to read and prepare food and this is her best.

A trailblazer for all cooks  Jan 21, 2003
The truly remarkable thing about Elizabeth David was not so much that she could write enthralling and compelling cookbooks ("Mediterranean Food", "French Provincial Cooking", "Italian Cooking"), but that she transformed a glum, drab post-war England by the beauty of her prose and her ability to evoke the sunshine and brilliant colours of the mediterranean. And, further north, the simple beauty of cuisine bourgeoise, home cooking french style.

It was this book that got me started on a lifetime of home cooking. Like all great cookbooks, it can be read and savored without cooking at all. Her ability to evoke time and place is startling -- for example, her recipe for little courgette souffles is wrapped in the story of how she first enjoyed them. Of course, this was in a small country restaurant where the proprietor used his own recipe to make them for her.

She talks vividly about La Mere Poulard and her Mont St. Michel omelettes, for which she offers the original recipe. Roughly translated from the french, it reads: "Monsieur, I get some good eggs, I put them in a bowl and beat vigorously. Then I put them into a pan with good butter and stir constantly. I will be very happy if this recipe gives you pleasure".

I remember, over 30 years ago, the first time I made her recipe for pork chops "to taste like wild boar". They do indeed, and very good they are. Her recipes for classics like Cassoulet, and Bouillabaisse are vivid and provide the cultural context as well as precise directions. Her description of a bouillabaisse on the beach makes you want to catch the next plane there.

She explains the environment of her recipes, their milieu, and their progenitors so that you get right inside the whole theory and practice of french cooking. This is not haute cuisine, though it is not always simple to execute. But her sympathy for the process of cooking and her ability to describe it precisely prefigured writers like Richard Olney and Alice Waters, who owe her, as do we all, a great debt.

In any case, she is directly responsible for the appalling culinary assaults I have perpetrated on family and friends for longer than I care to remember. I still use the book, though most of its pages are now stored directly in my memory.

La Bonne Vrai Cuisine de France  Jan 23, 2002
This book is unequaled, engrossing, superlative. It remains, despite the four decades since its publication, the finest book on authentic French cooking in the English language. To that extent, it is uncompromising - a quality not likely to endear it to the timid or fadish american cook - but never daunting. The sheer sensuous beauty of the food evoked in these pages is a loving, prolonged essay on one of the glories of western civilization.

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