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4.2 out of 5 stars
Elizabeth David on Vegetables
Format: HardcoverChange
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2014
Another excellent book in the Elizabeth David range. Even after all this time it is still extremely informative & helpful. A very necessary addition to the kitchen library. The book was well packaged & arrived within good time.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a hardback, this looks very good in the kitchen - the photography is wonderful and almost every other page, has an enticing full-colour plate. The recipes are interspersed amongst articles and divided into logical chapters - they are a good size that allows them to be read easily on one page, while cooking, without turning over.

However, this is only a compilation of articles that have appeared before and they vary in style and detail. You don't always get a list of ingredients and some are exceedingly brief. Orange and Celery Salad, for example, is basically a one-liner.

Jill Norman has created this book as a tribute to Elizabeth David on the 100th anniversary of her birth. In this context, it does make sense in showing how her influence has changed the way that we in Britain look at Mediterranean cuisine and the simplicity of these dishes, which contrasts with more traditional views on what is good cooking.

This reminds you of all those articles in the Sunday Times colour supplements during the 70s and 80s. It's not an organised cook book, but I have to recommend it and give it at least 4 stars, for the enthusiasm that comes through in every page.

The photos add a lot, but I also enjoyed the articles. For example the story of discovering "Green Risotto" and how it is based on a wild asparagus that only grows for 10 days in May in the Venetian countryside. This is all about using the best, simple ingredients that would be available locally in Italy, Spain and Provincial France. It's appropriate to focus on Vegetables therefore, as Elizabeth David was "against pretentiousness and fuss " and these recipes epitomise her principles.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Elizabeth David's fame as a food writer was at its height in the 1950s and 60s with such titles as Elizabeth David Classics: "Mediterranean Food", "French Country Cooking" and "Summer Cooking" and French Provincial Cooking. She lived at various times in France, Italy, Greece, Egypt and India - immersing herself in the local cuisine before relaying its essence to the British public through her books.

This volume is a selection of vegetable dishes from across her published works. A sort of green greatest hits.

I find the recipes a little bit dated. They come from a time after all when Britons could only buy olive oil at the chemist, and its principle use was softening ear wax.

David was an incredibly influential food writer and many of today's famous chefs are devotees. Drawing on her source they will have updated her ideas. Her DNA will be found in any book by Hugh, Jamie, Rick or Delia. I would have to say that the books of these modern day followers of Elizabeth might be a better stopping off point for many home cooks. Certainly Hugh's River Cottage Veg Every Day! (River Cottage Every Day) is likely to be of far more value to you. And I am constantly delighted by Alice Hart's Vegetarian.

So if you only buy one book on vegetables it shouldn't really be this one. That is not to downplay her huge importance to the history of opening up the UK's tastebuds, but its a fact I cannot escape. If you are really into cooking and its history and already have a shelf full of recipe books, then by all means have a look at this. It is interesting and it is a nicely illustrated round-up of mostly Mediterrannean cooking.

Another historical factor may also annoy those used to a more modern approach though. There is no list of ingredients and amounts by each recipe. Everything is revealed in the text, but I think many people will miss a clear separate list when assembling the necessary raw materials.

And finally, I like a cookery book to be built for the rigors of the kitchen. It should have a wipeable cover and we able to withstand splats and spatters. But this book, while hardback has a flimsy paper jacket that is more suited to the coffee-table than the kitchen counter.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2013
Perhaps I should have looked more carefully at what I was buying. As books go, it is well presented and with attractive photo graphs. The text material is a compilation from the various books by the late Elixabeth David, books worthy of a place in any collection and of constant reference in the kitchen. Mistakenly, I assumed that it was a reprint of a book on vegetables by Elixabeth David, There is nothing about individual vegetables and how to use them. Instead it is a series of chapters on soups, salads, and so on using vegetarian recipes from Elizabeth David's published works. It even has chapters on bread and desserts. I cannot fault the presentation, but the content is not what I had expected - my fault for being so hasty in my purchase. I may look at it from time to time from the comfort of my armchair. I cannot imagine that it will ever find its way into my kitchen.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 27 May 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you're a die-hard Elizabeth David fan, then you'll probably love this book. If you're looking for a book of mouthwatering vegetarian recipes, then you may be a little disappointed.

Elizabeth David - On Vegetables is a beautiful book, it's a great size for sitting on a work top while you refer to while cooking and the photography inside is superb, in this respect it's a great book! The recipes are authentic and well researched and relatively easy to follow, but... well it's one of those books that - for me at least - was a little too authentic. Heavy on the authentic, light on the delicious.

That said, it is a beautiful book and it would make a great gift for a keen cook who's looking for something a little different.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 June 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Disappointed is too emotional really. I suppose I would say that I found this collection of vegetable recipes unremarkable, mainly as most of the recipes were of their time. I also have Hugh Fernley Whitingstall's Vegetable recipe book and the two books just don't compare. Hugh's book is full of clever, interesting but simple ideas using all sorts of ingredients, Elizabeth David's recipes are very, very simple and didn't give me any new ideas at all.

Not a book I would recommend but maybe that's why I am not a particular fan of Elizabeth David.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an ingeniously put together collection of the legendary culinary writer Elizabeth David's vegetable recipes from her many cookbooks such as French Country Cooking, Mediterranean Food, Italian Food,and Summer Cooking. They have been put together by Ms David's literary trustee, Jill Norman in a delightful, visually appealing book.

For anyone who owned an original Elizabeth David cookbook lack of illustrations were a slight frustration when dealing with what were unfamiliar ingredients 30-40 years ago (courgettes, aubergines,ceps, pine nuts - its a long list). Nowadays these ingredients are familiar but the original frustration has also been removed with beautiful but realistic photographs of the food. Elizabeth was a pioneer, a breaker of completely new ground who brought us food that was almost completely unknown.

The recipes are interspersed with some of Elizabeth's essays on food, all undated, but very much of their time. One headed 'Garlic Presses are Utterly Useless' is an amusing tirade against the aforementioned objects (a view originally aired by the legendary John Tovey). In mentioning 'Raymond Blanc ... at the Quat Saisons in Oxford ' this one can be dated to the very early Eighties. 'The Great English Aphrodisiac' is a scholarly, fascinating and well -researched essay on Redcliffe Salaman, who unearthed and published 'The History and Social Influence of the Potato' - and distills all that is most interesting about that book into a few pages.

The recipes though, are the core of the book - for any gardeners with courgette overload, there are seven original and tempting recipes. I couldn't find any that were not vegetarian apart from those suggesting meat, fish and poultry as an optional extra.
Many are easily adaptable for vegans, or are vegan - coriander mushrooms, braised Jerusalem artichokes. There are some recipes which are now familiar, like a rice and cucumber salad, or spaghetti with oil, garlic and chilli, but it has to be remembered that these recipes were written when these dishes were real novelties.

2013 is Elizabeth David's centenary; this book is a timely, stylish reminder of her pivotal role in how the UK learned to embrace other cuisines and broaden its food horizons.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a good-looking book, featuring a collection of Elizabeth David recipes, published to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth. Davis died in 1992, so this collection has been put together by Jill Norman, who is her former editor, and now literary trustee of David's estate. David was a pioneer who, in the 1950s, introduced Britain to real Italian and French cooking. She changed the way we eat - introducing the nation to pasta, olive oil, garlic, peppers and so on. The book is therefore something of a labour of love by Norman.

The recipes are generally excellent. Some of the simple ones, like eggs with mushrooms and cheese, are a cinch to make, and taste fabulous. The recipes are interspersed with a few articles that seem a bit out of place, such as the two-page argument against the use of garlic presses. They make interesting reading, but you'd probably never look at them again.
The book looks very nice, but it's not always easy to use. This is because the recipes often do not list the ingredients. Instead, the recipes are talked through, step-by-step, in lengthy paragraphs. This makes it necessary to trawl through the recipes to identify the ingredients and quantities.

David's work has long-since been eclipsed by other food writers, but David was the first of a kind and, as evidenced in this book, her recipes have stood the test of time. This is the only vegetable-based recipe book I have used, but it has won its place on my kitchen shelf, for offering up a good range of recipes, most of which are quite easy to make.
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on 16 April 2015
Beautifully produced compilation of vegetable recipes from one of the first post war cookery writers who brought a blast of Mediterranean sunshine into gloomy post war British kitchens.It must have all seemed like a distant and posh dream then, but now the ingredients are everyday items.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a beautiful book; the photographs are stunning and it looks incredibly classy. That said, as a practical cookbook it is quite frustrating to use! Firstly, some of the recipes do include ingredients lists and some don't, so you have to pick your way through the text to work out what you'll need and secondly, the instructions are not given step-by-step but instead in a chunky paragraph. When I tried making some of the dishes, I was continually losing my place. Ok, so it's not the end of the world, but it's an irritation that could have been avoided with some decent typesetting.

I would recommend this book because some of the recipes are wonderful (roast onions are gorgeous!) but I won't be using it as one of my staples.
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