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Foreword by Molly O'Neill
New York Review of Books -- 1995, reprinted in 2002
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Sometimes you want a cookbook author to give it to you straight.
None of this "You can whip this up in 10 minutes!" when you are certain, as you possess merely mortal chopping skills, it will take you 20 with that pile of onions.
The well-traveled cookbook author Elizabeth David, who many think brought "real food" to the English in the 1950s, is of this no-nonsense school. She saw it among her duties to bring picnic food and something called "seasonal shopping" to her countrymen and women, as they were stuck in an out-of-season loop. On one page she gripes about the mortification of seeing ratatouille on a February menu comprised of tomatoes and (ugh) cabbage.
On another she writes of the English approach to the "dread" salad season that is summertime: "What makes a cook think that the beetroot spreading its hideous purple dye over a sardine and a spoonful of tinned baked beans constitutes an hors d'oeuvre?"
Tell us how you really feel, Elizabeth.
What we tested and whether the book's worth buying, after the jump.