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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Italian Food
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£12.38+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 21 October 2012
Fabulous little companion.
First saw it when Andrew Graham Dixon read from it and showed the pic in his travelogue with Georgio the Italian cook while they were in Sicily or somewhere.
Elizabeth David's reminiscences and reflections are very warm and informative. The first few chapters, before a recipe is offered, ref her travels throughout the land in the early 50s, are excellent reading, the prose very much a throw back to a more genteel Britain, but also with a noted humility, reflecting post war England's values. Her occasional philosophising is one of the quirks which make this book such cult reading. The writing is excellent, the english at times loquacious but always most apt.

Elizabeth tells us for example that as far back as 1930, an italian poet was railing against the dangers of eating too much pasta, before later offering reassurance through another, which can be applied to all things in life: "the important thing is to adapt your dish of spaghetti to circumstances and your state of mind"

Bedside reading or practical tipster, this little book should be read by all with even a passing interest in food, people, history and language.
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on 1 July 2017
This is an old book - poor quality paper and no pictures. Still trying to go through it but its not an easy read - mainly due to the way it is published
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on 8 August 2004
Some books one can accept, and tolerate, in the paperback format if your budget won't stretch to this super book.

This is a chunky book so needs some serious space on that sturdy kitchen book-shelf but will be much admired as a result.

Typical Elizabeth David style; everything totally researched, as usual...sheer pleasure to dip in and out of.
Fantastic colour photography throughout.
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on 24 June 2017
Good if you're a cook
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on 2 March 2017
Excellent Thank you
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on 9 August 2017
good book
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on 22 May 2016
Timeless classic
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on 27 February 2007
If your budget won't stretch to the hardback edition which is highly recommended for its superb photography and sumptuous presentation, this is the next best thing.

'Elizabeth David discovered her taste for good food and wine when she lived with a French family while studying history and literature at the Sorbonne.
A few years after her return to England, she made up her mind to learn how to cook so that she could reproduce for herself and her friends some of the food that she had come to appreciate in France. Subsequently Mrs David lived and kept house in France, Italy, Greece, Egypt and India, as well as in England ....'

Fresh lemons enhance the plain white cover which opens to 376 matt pages, packed full of information and recipes, written in the typical Elizabeth David style.
The book opens with an introduction, notes about the previous editions and finishes with a 37 page index.
Sandwiched in between are the recipes, titles in both Italian and English( if applicable), split over the following chapters:

* Italian Dishes in Foreign Kitchens
* The Italian Store Cupboard
* Kitchen Equipment
* Hors d'Oeuvre and Salads
* Soups
* Pasta Asciutta
* Ravioli, Gnocchi etc
* Rice
* Haricot Beans, Chick Peas, Polenta etc
* Eggs, Cheese Dishes ,Pizza etc
* Fish Soups
* Fish
* Meat
* Poultry & Game
* Vegetables
* Sweets, sectioned into 'Fruit' and 'Ices'
* Sauces
* Preserves
* Cheeses
* Notes and Nooks on Italian Wines
* Some Italian Cookery Books
* Guides to Food & Wine in Italy

A scattering of black and white illustrations break up the text, which is simple in places and more complex where it needs to be, e.g.:

'Dentice (Dentex)
A Mediterranean fish of which there is no equivalent in northern waters. At its best grilled or roasted.'

The Daurade of Provence. A large Mediterranean fish with, in spite of its name - which implies gold-fish - silvery scales. The nearest approach to it to be found in England, is the sea bream, which can be used for the recipe below.
There are two good ways of cooking this fish, in `cartoccio' (fish cooked in paper cases), page 146, and with a sauce of white wine and sultanas, which can be applied very successfully to carp and also to fresh haddock.'

Then follows the recipe for 'Orata al Vino Bianco' (Orata cooked in white wine).

'When it was first published, 'Italian Food', Elizabeth David's magnificent survey of the varied food and cookery of Italy's many regions, proved an inspiration to British cooks. In it, she conveyed all the richness, the colour and variety of this remarkable cooking tradition. The popularity of Italian food today and the ready availability of ingredients means that even the busiest cook can re-create such tempting dishes as 'roasted red peppers',' Piedmontese cheese fondue', 'fettuccine with fresh tomato sauce' and' chicken breasts with ham and cheese'.

'This edition of Italian Food differs from several of its predecessors chiefly in that revisions made over many years in the form of footnotes have now been incorporated into the main body of the text...........References to numerous shops, at one time sources of supply of imported Italian foodstuffs, but now vanished, have been eliminated. When it came to my original chapter on the wines of Italy I found that almost everything I wrote in 1954 had receded into history......'.
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on 13 June 2011
I was ashamed to call myself a cook without an Elizabeth David in my collection. Now I have three books and Italian food was the first. I quote; "In early 1950s David set out for Italy determined to show a ration weary British public that Italian food was more than spaghetti in tomato sauce."
If you think you already know ALL about Italian food, try this, you will learn a lot more. I read this while watching "Two Greedy Italian's" on TV. The two Italian chefs travelled all around Italy, learning and demonstrating the recipes. I fell in love with Italy, its people and food. Her Writing(David's) is inspirational. With a handful of this or a touch of that.(There are many that copy her style these days)Without the conventional list of ingredients and weights given, you are invited to cook these dishes using your own preferences and taste to guide you. Just by reading this book you will learn a lot more about food. And will remind you of a lot you have forgetten. Great bedtime reading, if you can sleep without running down stairs to ransack the fridge!
The other books by David in my collection are "French Provincial Cooking" This is considered to be the crowning acheivement of David's career, gathered from great chefs as well as well as local cooks, and one of the finest bibliographies of good cookery books ever compiled. And,"Mediterranean food and other writings." Now I just need the one named 'Summer Cooking,' which I hope will be ordered next week, and I'm all set.
Elizabeth David has led the way in this style of cooking. Eat your heart out Delia Smith! All of these books are from Amazon. Thanks for reading, enjoy your meals.
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on 31 May 2001
Elizabeth's groundbreaking book is every bit as readable as Nigella and rather than listing fashionable recipies with "ideas" from all over Europe it concentrates on Italian food from risotto to tiramasu and everything in between. The research for this book is outstanding and for anyone who doesn't know the Italian culinary world beyond pizza/pasta this book will show you (and for those that do it will entertain, interest and educate you). It is every bit as relevant as whenit was first published and extremely affordable. A classic and a must for any serious cook.
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