A Book of Mediterranean Food

by Elizabeth David

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Original Publisher
John Lehmann
Date of publication

Recommended by

Nina Caplan

Wine and food writer

Her manner is invariably peremptory, her recipes occasionally impossible – David, more than almost any other cookery book writer, assumes you can cook. (She also assumes common sense, which is flattering but not always helpful.) And yet – persist, and the food is great, with a whiff of the lazy south of another era, where the bottle of Macon, Beaujolais or Châteauneuf du Pape upended easefully into the Coq au Vin would have been better than most of us can now afford to drink, and the time spent around the table for a single meal would have sufficed to write another book. Even if you don’t want to cook her food, David’s digressions are worth reading – I will remember Senator Couteaux taking a week to catch his hare for Lièvre à la Royale, then substituting the recipe for his usual political column, when all the recipes are forgotten.

Aliza Green

Chef and author

David is a wonderful writer whose romantic vision of sun-kissed Mediterranean food and casual, literary writing style I continue to admire. One of the very first cookbooks I ever read, since my mom purchased a copy when it was first published in 1950.

Annabel Abbs

Novelist, cook and food blogger

Simple recipes, beautifully written. I love the way David, almost single-handedly, restored our love of cooking, eating and food-fantasising, after years of War and food rationing. Her shimmering prose reminded us that good food was a cause for joy.

Karen Anderson

Writer and Blogger of Savour It All

If Jane Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility as a cookbook this is how it would have turned out. Elizabeth David's ability to be concise and straightforward in her instruction is unparalleled.

Anthony Warner

Chef and author

Another beautifully written classic, this book changed British cooking. It is hard to imagine how different our food culture was when it was written.

Valeria Necchio

Cookbook author

With stories and recipes busting with Mediterranean flavours, this book is especially wonderful to read and cook from during the summer months.

Adrian Chiles

Broadcaster and Writer

Any of her books would make my list. This gets there by virtue of the incredibly simple recipes for Fasoulia and Stifado.

Lauraine Jacobs

Author and columnist

I love all her books but this, the first book she wrote is my most treasured.

Graham Kerr

Cookbook author and TV chef (formerly "The Galloping Gourmet")

A broader area and ongoing interest in fresh and local regional recipes.

Craig Sams

Grocer, baker and founder of Green & Black's


Prue Leith

Founder of Leiths Group, food writer and author

David Rowley

Designer and art director

Alexander Lobrano

Author, Hungry for Paris

Henrietta Green

Food Writer & Consultant

Jake Tilson

Artist, graphic designer and author

Ed Mottershaw

Head Chef, The Eagle Farringdon

Anna Del Conte

Food writer

David Dale


Barbara Haber

Author and food historian

Martin Boetz

Cooks Co-op

Ruth Reichl

Writer, former editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine

Bridget Henisch

Medieval food historian

MM Pack

Food writer

Aglaia Kremezi

Food writer and journalist