In post-war Britain, where rationing would have been more familiar than ratatouille, bisexual cookery writer Elizabeth David must have seemed distinctly exotic. Powdered egg and spam never tasted as good as any of the ingredients in her books.
The Sussex-born, Sorbonne-educated cook helped to popularise French cooking in Britain.
Her writing evoked images of sunny French markets and the smells and tastes of food that Britons simply didn’t know. Despite a lack of Mediterranean ingredients to hand, she created a national appetite for Provençale cookery.
She wrote as much about the south of France as she did about the food. Her writing allowed readers to smell the lavenders fields and taste the tomatoes on a market stall for themselves.
“Despite a lack of Mediterranean ingredients to hand, she created a national appetite for Provençale cookery”
She published French Country Cooking in 1951, though 1960’s French Provincial Cookbook remains her best-known work.
While the US had Julia Child, Britain had Elizabeth David. However, whether any blogger called Elizabeth has ever tried to recreate her recipes from scratch these days remains unknown.