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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine (1994)

by Elizabeth David

Other authors: Marie Alix (Illustrator)

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712631,476 (4.12)7
Contains delightful explorations of food and cooking among which are the collections namesake essay and many other gems; Z99 black-and-white photographs and illustrations

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Elizabeth David is one of the pioneers of food writing, and even 50 years later, her ascerbic, witty style still holds up, as do, surprisingly, some of her pet subjects. She rails against processed foods, decries the commercialization and dumbing down of great traditional recipes, and emphasizes the importance of fresh, local ingredients — and we can still relate. But even more engaging are David’s descriptions of French food markets, recountings of terrific simple meals in small, rural French inns and Italian restaurants, and reviews of food writers from previous centuries whose works might otherwise have been lost. Anyone who enjoys good food and good writing about food should read Elizabeth David. ( )
  sturlington | May 18, 2011 |
This is a work to be enjoyed on multiple levels and different occasions, as I am sure that I will do. Firstly the writing, the journalistic pieces, over decades of competent columns , addressing the subject of food and the selection, preparation and the cooking of her ‘stores’. David held strong views and expressed them strongly too! Her pieces for Vogue, The Sunday Times are full of historical references and facts, illuminating her pieces on the current fashions in cooking and eating.

Then there are the actual recipes, many of them her own but equally sharing others, be they contemporary peers or, quite literally, the historically famous from history. Few can write so authoritatively on Escoffier or Beeton as Elizabeth who surely earned her own place and standing among the ‘greats’ in cuisine. I had not even finished reading the book before I began cooking from it!

Lastly, despite having been written in 1952, her views and guidance on food, the quality and the care in creation of dishes, of presentation, of the sheer enjoyment of food are very current and appropriate today.

Then there is a bonus for those of us who love France – the descriptions of trips, towns and visits to those compelling produce markets in France … even if you have not yet discovered Elizabeth David, an author for ‘foodies’, long before our ‘celebrity’ TV Chefs, this book will delight you – on many levels.
  John_Vaughan | Apr 26, 2011 |
I was taking Laurie Colwin's recommendation. But I don't understand the appeal. ( )
  pilarflores | Oct 4, 2010 |
When it comes to writing about food Elizabeth David is an icon. Her books are not only widely read, but evenly more widely discussed and considered bibles in the world of gastronomy. For a woman who cooked the way she did, living all over the world, it is no surprise she is still considered one of the best food writers of all time.
David's "career" in food writing began in 1947 with a frustration. Unable to get meals she enjoyed she vented her frustration by writing down descriptions of the food she craved, "I sat down...and started to work out an agonizing craving for the sun and a furious revolt against that terrible, cheerless, heartless food by writing down descriptions of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking" (p 21). And so it began.

Probably the best surprise to David's writing is her humor laced with sarcasm. An Omelette and a Glass of Wine is comprised of essays the wrote for well-reputed publications such as Vogue and The Spectator. While the writing is knowledgeable and professional there is an air of whimsy and playfulness running throughout. Here is an example, just to get you started: "He [the waiter] has been five years with the French navy, alors vous comprenez madame je connais les vins, moi. What he doesn't connait is that I like my Beaujolias cold, straight from my cellar" (p 42). In addition to having thoughtful, knowledgeable essays, An Onelette and a Glass of Wine is peppered (excuse the pun) with wonderful photographs and illustrations. This was a book I enjoyed savoring one essay at a time. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Apr 9, 2009 |
Some of the most beautifully balanced food writing ever. Elizabeth David never uses a sentence when a word will do. ( )
  jontseng | Apr 12, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David, ElizabethAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alix, MarieIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Anthony and Celia Denney with love
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In thirty five years of writing about food and cookery I have contributed articles to a very various collection of publications.
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Contains delightful explorations of food and cooking among which are the collections namesake essay and many other gems; Z99 black-and-white photographs and illustrations

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