We recently moved house and I can't find my original copy of this, so now have a wonderful new one. The recipes are simple (no pictures) but elegant. In their day they were revolutionary - containing such exotic things as aubergines and garlic ! It is wonderful just as a good read in bed, but is also full of delicious things, and gives a wonderful insight into cooking with available ingredients, and not many of them. When we can now just dash out to Tesco to buy almost anything we want, this wonderful little book takes us back to a time when we ate more simply, depending on things in season, yet nevertheless making delicious and usually economical food. I <3 Elizabeth David !
As with all of Elizabeth David's books, this is not a list of weights and measures, but of ingredients and expected results. This is not a book for kids in a hurry, as you need to read it as a gastronomic autobiography first, and then go back and try the recipes. In style it has the prose style of a "Miss Jean Brodie" with the "chuck in a bit of this and that" of Jamie Oliver! Above all she perfectly describes the robust tastes and smells of rural French cuisine.
This is one of the best cookbooks I have bought for a long time - and buying cookbooks is almost an addiction with me. I am reading every word, and salivating as I go. I simply want to cook everything in the book. Over the last three nights we have had Daube, Coq au Vin and Grillade Mariniere de Valence - all stunningly tasty dishes (You can see that I have reached the meat section). The recipes are very clear and well presented, but do have a lot of steps in them, so are probably not for a beginner. The book is written with an American market in mind, so gives imperial and well as metric measures, and some suggestions for alternative ingredients where the French ingredients may not be available. There are a lot of personal comments from the author about the recipes and French gastronomy in general which add to the readability of the book. This is definitely a book that all keen cooks should have in their kitchen - for very frequent use!
French Country Cooking complements her four major works as available in splendid Folio editions. For anyone genuinely interested in the culinary arts will discover in this book a wealth of material and recipes for country dishes which provide the inspiration - as Miss David wanted - for one's own experimentation in the kitchen. She provides, posthumously, starter ideas for the individual either to follow or to develop according to his/her own tastes. She is for the twentieth century, and our own, what Hannah Glasse, Eliza Acton and Isabella Beeton were to the nineteenth century - incomparably rich in sound ideas.
My original copy had actually fallen to pieces. The glue along the binding dried up. Sooo. A cheeky 'used' copy via Amazon - and I have my recipes back. I live in France and am sure my Elizabeth David cooking can keep pace with my neighbours. (Although they may be into take away pizzas!
I first saw this book at my mother-in-law's and she paid 5 shillings for it. The price has now increased, but the book is full of really great, sensible and packed full of flavour recipies - cannot recommend enough.
Elizabeth David's books have this incredible ability to send you to the supermarket.The recipes in French Country Cooking are exactly as the title proclaims simple peasant style country dishes.Yet as ever David wrote in a vivid but impatient style,almost demanding to know why we didn't eat in this hearty flavoursome style and what we were going to do about it.Do what i did ,buy the book and start cooking.