Alan Davidson: A Tribute

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Readers of this revised edition of The Oxford Companion to Food may know little of the author of the vast majority of its entries, Alan Davidson. Alan died in 2003; not before making plans of his own for improvements and alterations to his book but, sadly, with little time to implement them.

Alan was born in 1924, the son of an inspector of taxes and proud of his Scottish forebears. He was educated at Leeds Grammar School and Queen’s College, Oxford, where he took a double first in classics. His time at university was interrupted by military service in the Royal Navy RNVR, first as an ordinary seaman, later a lieutenant, in the Pacific, the North Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. He somewhat shamefacedly recalled slicing a whale in two when officer of the watch aboard the aircraft carrier Formidable. ‘Left-hand down a bit,‘ doesn‘t work with large boats at full bore. Perhaps his fish books were a penance for this accident.