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Summer Cooking (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – April 30, 2002
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From Library Journal
These debuted in 1950 and 1955, respectively, thrusting the British-born David into the cooking limelight. She is credited with debunking a lot of myths involving foods and their preparation. These editions contain new forewords by Clarissa Dickson Wright, one of TV's famed Fat Ladies, who introduces the Mediterranean volume, and New Yorker columnist Molly O'Neill who offers her take on Summer Cooking. With the remarkable popularity of cooking shows, these might be more popular now.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Decorated with a portrait of twin cherries, yellow runner beans, and the sweet, petite wild strawberries known as frais de bois, to urban eyes starved of July's sensual delights, the sunny cover of Summer Cooking seems to promise a storybook world...Summer Cooking is a wonderfully subversive volume -- every bit as unexpected and enchanting to read today as it must have been 50 years ago...But the purest thrill of Summer Cooking,as in all of David's volumes, is the nearly pugilistic punch of pleasure her food delivers, and the graceful way her bright, well-mannered prose captures the artist's fleeting delight...Whether read in bed in a baking tenement or at the breezy desk of a lolling barge, her words still ring like hypnotic prayers." --Salon.com
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Each section is introduced by Elizabeth David and her comments are, as always pointed, "how one learns to dread the season for salads in England."
This book is not set up the way a normal cookbook would be, ingredients are not listed, nor in bold type, you must read through the recipe to figure out what you need in most cases. Some recipes you will not have an easy time finding the ingredients: pigeon, cockles, eels, ox tongue, pig's head, marrow; or you might need a translation, i.e. tunnyfish = tuna. Oven temperatures are in gas marks, and there is a conversion table in the back of the book. There is a good section on fresh herbs.
Recipes include; hors d'oeuvre and salads, soups, eggs, fish, meat, poultry and game, vegetables, sauces, sweets, jams, jellies, preserves, buffet food, cooking for holidays and weekends, picnics.
These are interesting recipes and can be tried for variety and their good taste. Those who enjoy cooking might like the challenge of Elizabeth David's recipes although they for the most part are not difficult to prepare. Favorites in this family have included peas with ham, and potatoes with mushrooms.
There are several recipes that are jellied with calves or pigs foot the finished meat surrounded by cubes of the gelatinous stuff. Do people still do that?
I see the cool idea of it for summer but... things were different then. Britian was coming out of post WW2 rationing, eggs and cream had been impossible to get. In 1955 chicken was an expensive commodity, fish was cheap. David gives an interesting look at a sophisticated 1950s palate, one that would have a wide reach right into our own time. She is a writer who is utterly devoted to the pursuit of fine dining and I read the book every year not so much for the recipes (of which there are many!) but for the creative energy that comes through year in and year out with her strong clear writing and her undaunted spirit. By all means a useful and necessary addition to any serious cooks collection. Very Highly Recommended.