Thursday, January 3, 2008

Elizabeth David's Cookbook Picks

With all the "Best of 2007" cookbook lists that have come out in the past few months, I was reminded of an article in the London Times from February 1971 that my friend and colleague at the Library, Amy Azzarito, pulled for me. The article lists twenty-seven cookbooks that culinary writer Elizabeth David recommends one have in one's library. The books are broken down into categories such as French and International; English and Scottish; Basic; Levantine and Mediterranean; Oriental; and Reference.

While some of these cookbooks are very familiar (Escoffier, Child, Roden), there are also quite a few I had never heard of. Fortunately, the Library owns most of those listed and I intend to pull them from the stacks and get more acquainted with these writers and their works.

I will list them as David has done in the article.

French & International:
1. Guide to Modern Cookery by Auguste Escoffier (1903)

2. Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Child, Beck and Bertholle (1963)

3. Cooking with Pomiane by Edouard de Pomaine (1962)

4. Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery by Jane Grigson (1967)

5. The Constance Spry Cookery Book by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume (1956)

English and Scottish:
6. Food in England by Dorothy Hartley (1954)

7. Good Things in England by Florence White (1932)

8. The Scots Kitchen by F. Marian McNeill (1946)

9. Farmhouse Fare by Agricultural Press (1935)

10. The Best of Eliza Acton edited by Elizabeth Ray (1968)

11. Mrs. Beeton's Household Management - facsimile of the original 1861 edition.

12. Jams, Preserves and Home Made Sweets with supplement for Home Freezing (1969)

13. The Penguin Cookery Book by Bee Nilson (1952)

14. The Peacock Cookery Book by Betty Valk (1964)

Bread, Cakes and Yeast Cookery:
15. Home Baked by George and Cecilia Scurfield (1956)

16. Talking About Cakes, with an Irish and Scottish Accent by Margaret Bates (1964)

Levantine and Mediterranean:
17. A Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden (1968)

18. Home Book of Greek Cookery by Joyce Stubbs (1963)

19. Italian Regional Cooking by Ada Boni (1969)

20. Mrs. Balbir Singh's Indian Cookery Book by Mills and Boon (1961)

21. How to Eat and Cook in Chinese by Buwei Yang Chao (1956)

22. South East Asian Food by Rosemary Brissenden (1970)

Reference Books:
23. Larousse Gastronomique, English translation by Paul Hamlyn (1928)

24. Herbs, Spices and Flavourings by Tom Stobart (1970)

25. The Oxford Book of Food Plants (1969)

26. A Garden of Herbs by Eleanour Sinclair Ronde (c.1920)

27. Herb Gardening by Claire Loewenfeld (1964)

Elizabeth David's own works are definitely worth looking through as well, especially her studies on Italian and Mediterranean food. "She was hailed not only as Britain's foremost writer on food and cookery, but as the woman who had transformed the eating habits of middle-class England," writes the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The Library has most, if not all, of her books.

As for the cookbook list above, if any of you are familiar with the more esoteric of these titles, please share your thoughts and perhaps your favorite recipes of the bunch.

Here's to a new year of cooking and reading! Happy 2008!


Paula said...

Hi! I just wanted to say I love your blog, and I just linked to this post on mine. Happy New Year!

Deborah Dowd said...

Just what I need! More reasons to buy more cookbooks! You don't think too many cookbooks is grounds for divorce, do you?

Kalyn said...

Hello dream job is right. I have hardly any of those cookbooks, thanks for the list!

The Foodie Princess said...

Elizabeth David's book "An Omelette and a Glass of wine" is one of my faves.

Happy New Year!

Little Nutbrown Hare said...

I have Buwei Yang Chao's book. Her writing is definitely interesting, but her recipes are made for large family meals so I haven't got round to trying them yet!