Blogger at Raining Sideways
My old, browned, broken paperback copy of French provincial Cooking is, without doubt, my favourite cookbook of all; my introduction to a new world of cooking and eating. Elisabeth David books were a breath of fresh air after the austerity of rationing and the depressing food of the post war years. In the mid ‘60’s the teenage me cooked at Nick’s Diner in Fulham under the expert eye of Kem Bennet, late of George Perry Smith’s famous Hole in the Wall in Bath. When I wasn’t learning to cook I was reading Elisabeth David. How perfect an introduction to the world of food!
I read and re-read this book as if it were a novel, I love the way Elizabeth David writes. It is so particular. This is by way of saying thanks to the author for a single recipe. One she documented in her travels in France, and brought to the wider world. One I have made SO many times over the years, I think I could make it underwater with one hand tied behind my back. Three words, people. Flourless Chocolate Cake. Thank you, Mrs David. For everything.
Innovations Director, Hobbs House Bakery
My dad bought a first addition of this book for my wife Anna. Over the course of a year Anna cooked every recipe [except for the one with Thrush in it]. Our 4 kids made out they hated it, the book was retrieved from the bin on numerous occasions, was offered up as kindling twice and thrown out of the car once. They’ll thank us, is what we tell them. Our eating at home has switched up a step and a half. Thank you ED.
Food writer and editor
When I was in my early 20s and living in Moscow, my mother sent me a copy of this book. I'm not sure whether it was meant to torture or inspire me, but it did inspire me. I read recipes for bouillabaisse and cassoulet like they were fairy tales, so impossible was it for me to find the ingredients, but I did use it for simple things like oeufs en cocotte, mushrooms in cream and poule au pot.
Editor, Observer Food Monthly,
I have an embarrassing amount of copies of this book in its many editions, though the best loved is the earliest of the Penguin paperbacks. This was the book that changed me, made me (and millions of others) want to know and to cook more. Hers are the only recipes I still won't change and adapt to the Observer Style Guide. She is Elizabeth David, for god's sake. Never been bettered.
Redolent of a past when olive oil was exotic and French provincial restaurants could be relied on to provide brilliant food, the point, beyond the sparkling prose from another era, is that the recipes always work. The highest praise for any cookbook author - however unlikely the technique or ingredients it works.
My mother, a young medical student, living alone in a bedsit in 60s London, taught herself to cook with Elizabeth David's books. My childhood was filled with the fruits of her efforts. My own kitchen could not be without those same loved dishes. I think my own love of pastry began with the quiche lorraine.
Founder and Director, Food+City
A dear friend of mine in England introduced me to Elizabeth David and through this book I learned about a classic British food writer, English cuisine and its relationship to French cuisine. And love her warning, “..let’s not treat the food processor as though it were a waste-disposal unit.”
It was one of my first introductions to French cooking, because I was living in Britain, and because the book is an enduring reference work. David understands the narrative of making a dish of food. She also knows how to wear her enormous knowledge lightly. Eternal.
This was the first cookery book I read to read, not just to cook from. The first of many, but still my favourite. She was one of my key influences, especially in the years when I ran my café, Konstam and my restaurant, Konstam at the Prince Albert.
Blogger of Just Hungry and Just Bento
Originally published in 1962, it's the book I relied on first when I moved to Provence. I don't really use it for the recipes much anymore (although they are quite sound), but I still love to re-read her prose from time to time.
Author and historian
Nobody needs reminding that this book is a classic – they just need reminding to read it, again, now, for the economy of David’s prose and the crispness of her judgements.
My first cookbook, bought when I hadn't a good knife to my name. Got said knife at her cookshop from her own hand. This is the cookbook that took me out of Minnesota.
Writer and food historian
A classic, David’s book inspired a food revolution when Alice Waters read it and created Chez Panisse, her restaurant imbued with the spirit of David’s book.
Elizabeth David’s book was so inspirational that I wanted to cook every recipe and it inspired me to visit and later live and cook in France
Founder and co-CEO of Hubbub
Beautifully written and evocative of France in the 1950s and 60s. We cook from this book all the time; daubes, coq au vin, leeks Provencale.
Blogger of The London Foodie
A classic French cooking book by one of Britain's most loved cooks, I love how she goes off for a glass of wine half way through a recipe!
Food writer and historian
Fundamental and inspirational as is all her work. She accurately presented the wondrous culinary world of Europe to post war Britain.
Chef and author
Beautifully written, it communicated the importance of provenance in a way that would transform the culinary landscape for years.
Former food scientist, writer and broadcaster
The book that got me and many others started. I still dip into it from time to time simply for the pleasure of reading.
A book that inspired me to cook and appreciate simple ingredients like onions. It sparks nostalgic associations for me.
A model of capturing the essence of a region through its sensuous cuisine in eminently readable prose.
chef/owner Porsena & Porchetta
The family bible growing up. Still a delightful collection of ideas, suggestions and inspiration.
Writer, film maker
Along with Jane Grigson's works, Elizabeth David's were formative during my time at Cambridge.
Professional food writer and broadcaster
An invaluable guide to the classic dishes of regional France.
Executive Editor, Saturday Kitchen
The journey I wish I could make and still hope to.
Or any of David's other books – for the writing.
It just has to be where we started.
A Food Historian Cooks
And the rest of her early work.
Head Chef & partner at The Culpeper
Because it's the ultimate.
Food writer and illustrator
Mrs. David at her best.
Obituary writer and former restaurant critic
More beautiful writing.
Food Writer & Consultant
Chief Executive, Doves Farm Foods
Food and drink writer
Honorary curator of the culinary collection at the Schlesinger Library
Executive Chef and Owner
Editor, The Art of Eating
Creative Partner at Here Design
Owner and Founder of Pascale’s Kitchen
Executive Chef Patron, Quo Vadis, Soho
Co-founder of School of Artisan Food
Author and editor
Author and food scholar
Author and editor
Chef, writer and broadcaster
Author and chef
Editor in Chief for Vogue Living Australia and judge on The Block
Writer and composer
Writer, editor and photographer
CEO & co-founder, Food52
Chef, restaurateur, author
Publishing Director – Illustrated Books, Penguin Random House Australia
Food writer, former restaurateur, food educator
Master Chocolatier & Director, Paul A. Young fine chocolates
Professor of American Literature & Culture
Head Chef of The Ledbury
Chef and Owner, The Square
MD and Principal, Tante Marie Culinary Academy
Head of the Oxford School of Hospitality Management and Founder of Oxford Gastronomica
Chef/proprietor and cookbook author
Owner and Founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School
Chef-owner, Violet Cakes
Founder and editor of The Gannet
Cook and restaurateur