David, Elizabeth

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

David, Elizabeth (1913–92) the food writer to whom is given by common consent most credit for leading British tastes, from the 1950s onwards, in a new direction. Her keynote was struck, clear and melodious as a church bell in the Greek island where she had lived for a while, by A Book of Mediterranean Food (1950). Like the book which she acknowledged as a principal trigger for her own writing (The Gentle Art of Cookery by Mrs Leyel and Olga Hartley, 1925), it was inspirational rather than didactic. Although it impinged on a relatively small number of people (until the late 1950s and 1960s, when it and her other early books were published by Penguin in paperback for a wider audience) its influence began to show at once, for its content and style, echoed in the brilliant jacket by John Minton, matched a mood which was there in the post-war years but had not previously found expression.