Great Food: A Taste of the Sun by Elizabeth David

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Great Food: A Taste of the Sun by Elizabeth David
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Genre: Cookery
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A selection of the writings of the doyenne of cookery writers. A balanced, thought-provoking selection.
Buy? Yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 128 Date: April 2011
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-0241951088

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There are three people to whom I owe my ability to put imaginative and tasty food on the table: Nigel Slater for taking away the mystique, Jane Grigson for teaching me that food was deeply interesting and Elizabeth David just for being who she was. Initially I found her a little daunting but once I realised that cookery books were about far more than recipes I appreciated her true worth. In the wonderful Great Food series Penguin have given us a selection of her writing and a demonstration of how she changed the way that post-war Britain thought about food.

Don't read the book for specific advice – or you will be amazed, for instance, at all the cookery equipment which you have never needed and can never imagine needing. Times have changed and so have pans. Read it for the beauty of the writing, for the feeling of sun on your back as she describes the colours of a foreign market, or the smell of buttered toast. There's a quote from her old friend Norman Douglas which is superb and if you want advice about how to cook courgettes imaginatively then you need look no further than this book. There's a tian of courgettes, tomatoes and eggs which is delicious and perfect for that point in the summer when you don't know what you will do if another courgette appears in the kitchen.

I'd like the advice on balance in menus to be compulsory reading for everyone. It's not just about what goes with what, but about what should never be put on a plate with something else, about how to produce a balanced menu, which is visually appealing and doesn't over-burden the taste buds or the stomach. They're not rules which you must abide by, but points which make you think about what you're buying and how you're cooking it.

For years An Omelette and a Glass of Wine sat at the side of my bed for those nights when sleep doesn't come. A Taste of Sun would serve much the same purpose, or, as it's a reasonably small volume it would be ideal to slip into the pocket or the bag for those moments when you must have something to read.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For more food with sunshine we can recommend A Late Dinner: Discovering the Food of Spain by Paul Richardson.

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