French Provincial Cooking

by Elizabeth David

from the publisher

French Provincial Cooking is Elizabeth David's classic work on French regional cuisine.

Providing simple recipes like omelettes, soufflés, soups and salads, it also offers more complex fare such as pâtés, cassoulets, roasts and puddings.

First published in 1960, it is readable, inspiring and entertainingly informative. French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David is the perfect place to go for anyone wanting to bring a little France into their home.

'Britain's most inspirational food writer' Independent

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Original Publisher
Michael Joseph
Date of publication

Recommended by

Sally Vincent

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!

Jill Dupleix

Food writer

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.

Tom Herbert

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.

Debora Robertson

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.

Allan Jenkins

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.

Mark Mardell


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.

Cat Black

Food writer

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.

Robyn Metcalfe

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.”

Bill Buford


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.

Oliver Rowe


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.

Makiko Itoh

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.

Jason Goodwin

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.

Merry White

Food anthropologist

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.

Cynthia D. Bertelsen

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.

Marisa Leaf

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.

Ken Hom


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

Luiz Hara

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!

Elizabeth Romer

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.

Anthony Warner

Chef and author

Beautifully written, it communicated the importance of provenance in a way that would transform the culinary landscape for years.

Rowan Yapp


A book that inspired me to cook and appreciate simple ingredients like onions. It sparks nostalgic associations for me.

Len Fisher

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.

Betty Fussell


A model of capturing the essence of a region through its sensuous cuisine in eminently readable prose.

Sara Jenkins

chef/owner Porsena & Porchetta

The family bible growing up. Still a delightful collection of ideas, suggestions and inspiration.

Tamasin Day-Lewis

Writer, film maker

Along with Jane Grigson's works, Elizabeth David's were formative during my time at Cambridge.

Geraldene Holt

Professional food writer and broadcaster

An invaluable guide to the classic dishes of regional France.

James Winter

Executive Editor, Saturday Kitchen

The journey I wish I could make and still hope to.

Jake Hodges


Or any of David's other books – for the writing.

Tom Jaine

Food writer

It just has to be where we started.

Rachel Laudan

A Food Historian Cooks

And the rest of her early work.

Sandy Jarvis

Head Chef & partner at The Culpeper

Because it's the ultimate.

Elisabeth Luard

Food writer and illustrator

Mrs. David at her best.

William Grimes

Obituary writer and former restaurant critic

More beautiful writing.

Andrew McConnell

Executive Chef and Owner

Brett Graham

Head Chef of The Ledbury

Mark Diacono

Food Writer

Julie Gibbs

Publishing Director – Illustrated Books, Penguin Random House Australia

Stephanie Alexander

Food writer, former restaurateur, food educator

Bob Hart


Philip Howard

Chef and Owner, The Square

John Ashburne

Writer, editor and photographer

Amanda Hesser

CEO & co-founder, Food52

Darina Allen

Owner and Founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School

Lindsey Shere

Pastry chef

Donald Sloan

Head of the Oxford School of Hospitality Management and Founder of Oxford Gastronomica

Kit Chapman


Franco Taruschio

Chef/proprietor and cookbook author

Letitia Clark

Food writer

Andrew Maxwell

MD and Principal, Tante Marie Culinary Academy

James Murphy

Food photographer

Anne Mendelson

Author and editor

Janet Floyd

Professor of American Literature & Culture

Allegra McEvedy

Chef, writer and broadcaster

Barbara Ketcham Wheaton

Honorary curator of the culinary collection at the Schlesinger Library

Harry Lester

Cook and restaurateur

Gary Rhodes

Chef, restaurateur, author

Claire Ptak

Chef-owner, Violet Cakes

Neale Whitaker

Editor in Chief for Vogue Living Australia and judge on The Block

David Joachim

Food writer

Rachel Khoo

Author and chef

Henrietta Green

Food Writer & Consultant

Pascale Beale

Owner and Founder of Pascale’s Kitchen

Caz Hildebrand

Creative Partner at Here Design

Jill Norman

Author and editor

Paul A Young

Master Chocolatier & Director, Paul A. Young fine chocolates

Alison Swan Parente

Co-founder of School of Artisan Food

Clare Marriage

Chief Executive, Doves Farm Foods

Charles Shere

Writer and composer

Jeremy Lee

Executive Chef Patron, Quo Vadis, Soho

Barbara Santich

Author and food scholar

Edward Behr

Editor, The Art of Eating

John Wilkins

Emeritus Professor

Killian Fox

Founder and editor of The Gannet

Ben Norum

Food and drink writer

Anna Del Conte

Food writer

Sheila Dillon

Food journalist