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Italian Food (1954)

by Elizabeth David

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
746722,910 (4.17)1 / 16
Jane Grigson wrote of Italian Food 'Basil was no more than the name of bachelor uncles, courgette was printed in italics as an alien word, and few of us knew how to eat spaghetti or pick a globe artichoke to pieces.... Then came Elizabeth David like sunshine, writing with brief elegance about good food, that is, about food well contrived, well cooked. She made us understand that we could do better with what we had.' This is a critical and analytical look at Italian food - her personality and point of view come out on almost every page - organised by type of dish rather than by region and is full of details of kitchens and cooking by painters from the 14th, 15th and 18th centuries. The book is filled with asides and quotes from Italian writers and thinkers and as confirmation that this is more a work of scholarship than a simple book on cookery, there are appendices of bibliographies and notes on wine. If you want to explore the authentic regional roots of the Italian kitchen, Elizabeth David's masterpiece is the place to start. And the joy and relevance of this book today is that recipes that could only be read 60 years ago can now be cooked and savoured.… (more)
  1. 10
    Patricia Wells' Trattoria by Patricia Wells (etsmith)
    etsmith: Patricia Wells expertly translates Italian trattoria fare for Americans with simple recipes that work well for the non-expert and taste authentic. Some are common recipes but others are treasures that I have not seen elsewhere, like golden lemon risotto cake.
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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This classic work provides an in-depth look at Italian cuisine. The text is interesting, and the recipes often discuss substitutes for difficult to obtain items. This is the type of cookbook that would be consulted frequently because of the basic recipes that can be used in a variety of dishes. The most recent update was done in 1987. It would be interesting to see which cookbooks (and other books) would be added to the bibliographies if it were updated today. There are line drawings, but I would have loved photos of some of the dishes. ( )
1 vote thornton37814 | Aug 3, 2012 |
This book is about the truth of Italian cooking verses the fictions of the nineteen fifties and sixties. It a fascinating historical object and David has a strong voice. ( )
  freelancer_frank | Apr 17, 2012 |
Elizabeth David's (1913 - 1992) third book, published in 1954. Indispensible for the discussion of ingredients as much as the actual recipes. This is completely authentic, the result of extensive travels in Italy. Peppered with fully referenced quotations from others and general points of information, such as the fact that Diogenes the Cynic died from trying to eat raw inkfish.
  Carrie.deSilva | Aug 28, 2011 |
All the classics of Italian cookery by la divina of mediterranean cooking, Ms. David. ( )
  RoyHartCentre | May 9, 2009 |
Double scrumptious! Beautiful illustrations. 1st pub 1954 Macdonald. ( )
  kitchengardenbooks | Apr 16, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
added by lquilter | editJerusalem Post, Olivia Manning
 
Waugh described "Italian Food" as one of two books he had enjoyed that year, a quote that has become one of the notable commentaries on "Italian Food" and on David's writing generally.
added by lquilter | editThe Sunday Times, Evelyn Waugh
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Davidprimary authorall editionscalculated
Conran, TerenceForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guttuso, RenatoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacCarthy, SophieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Jane Grigson wrote of Italian Food 'Basil was no more than the name of bachelor uncles, courgette was printed in italics as an alien word, and few of us knew how to eat spaghetti or pick a globe artichoke to pieces.... Then came Elizabeth David like sunshine, writing with brief elegance about good food, that is, about food well contrived, well cooked. She made us understand that we could do better with what we had.' This is a critical and analytical look at Italian food - her personality and point of view come out on almost every page - organised by type of dish rather than by region and is full of details of kitchens and cooking by painters from the 14th, 15th and 18th centuries. The book is filled with asides and quotes from Italian writers and thinkers and as confirmation that this is more a work of scholarship than a simple book on cookery, there are appendices of bibliographies and notes on wine. If you want to explore the authentic regional roots of the Italian kitchen, Elizabeth David's masterpiece is the place to start. And the joy and relevance of this book today is that recipes that could only be read 60 years ago can now be cooked and savoured.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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