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on 13 February 2002
I normally steer well clear of authorised accounts of people's lives after all the really interesting facts are invariably the very ones which people seek to hide. Elizabeth David being such a huge figure in the culinary world and the depth of research I perceived from merely a cursory glance at the index intrigued me enough to give it a whirl. While I can't say I'm ready to revise my longstanding rule I am glad I made the exception in this case. I can't help feeling however that through some of the stories presented the author could present a somewhat more revealing portrait of not constrained by the conditions of that fateful epithet.
Notwithstanding this is still a fine volume and bears many of the hallmarks of a classic. It would be of particular interest to foodies as well as anyone who was just after a collection of (true life) ripping yarns. David lead a remarkable life during turbulent times, travelled widely and wrote beautifully and authoritatively. She was reluctant however to reveal more of herself to her public than what was presented in her various classic treatises on food.
She remains one of the central figures in food literature and can be viewed in detail now as a thoroughly interesting character.
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on 10 November 2001
Rather than just tediously trawling through David's cookbooks Cooper sets this amazingly influential woman in her context of family, class ,lovers friends and time.
I found this an illuminating and very enjoyable book about a very talented but rather tragic woman . David is painted warts and all and I wholly disagree with the earlier review. Well worth buying .
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on 4 April 2000
This book doesn't warm up until about page 220, when Cooper has - finally - finished dissecting the lives of David's family, friends and acquaintances. There are whole wedges of pages you can skip if you want to read about David - Cooper, who has been given access to David's papers, takes the opportunity to analyse in depth the great writer's family background. She goes back several generations and, while the excuse might be that she does so to give the reader a grounding in David's background the result is sheer tedium as we read yet more about grandparents buying houses and godchildren taking exams. Good grief. Once she gets into the part of Elizabeth David's life when she was writing about cookery things move along a little more interestingly, but there's a lingering impression that all Cooper has done is précis David's papers and not spoken to any of her surviving friends and family. As a result, we know some of the detail of Elizabeth David's life but little of the emotion, apart from the small bits Cooper surmises from the papers. A very disappointing read.
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on 30 December 2011
This is a disappointing book. It ought to be a rollicking good story. After all, it is the tale of an energetic young woman who brings the vibrancy and colour and richness and taste of the sunny Mediterranean to a dull, gray, drab post-war Britain. But this book captures none of that. It's a plodding recitation of facts punctuated with dozens of dull characters who appear for no reason and disappear soon after. I'm sure it's fine as a reference book. But it's a dull read.
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on 13 February 2002
I normally steer well clear of authorised accounts of people's lives after all the really interesting facts are invariably the very ones which people seek to hide. Elizabeth David being such a huge figure in the culinary world and the depth of research I perceived from merely a cursory glance at the index intrigued me enough to give it a whirl. While I can't say I'm ready to revise my longstanding rule I am glad I made the exception in this case. I can't help feeling however that through some of the stories presented the author could present a somewhat more revealing portrait of not constrained by the conditions of that fateful epithet.
Notwithstanding this is still a fine volume and bears many of the hallmarks of a classic. It would be of particular interest to foodies as well as anyone who was just after a collection of (true life) ripping yarns. David lead a remarkable life during turbulent times, travelled widely and wrote beautifully and authoritatively. She was reluctant however to reveal more of herself to her public than what was presented in her various classic treatises on food.
She remains one of the central figures in food literature and can be viewed in detail now as a thoroughly interesting character.
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on 27 March 2016
well worth reading
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on 2 December 2012
A clear and concise acount of her life that is engaging to read in a way that maintains interest for the reader.
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on 24 June 2013
Love the book and was a great service I dont what else to
To say but apparently indeed to be more wordy !
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