Long acknowledged as the inspiration for such modern masters as Julia Child and Claudia Roden, A Book of Mediterranean Food is Elizabeth David’s passionate mixture of recipes, culinary lore, and frank talk. In bleak postwar Great Britain, when basics were rationed and fresh food a fantasy, David set about to cheer herself—and her audience—up with dishes from the south of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and the Middle East. Some are sumptuous, many are simple, most are sublime.
Elizabeth David was a liberator; perhaps it is not absurd to compare her effect on a certain sector of tired, hungry, impoverished fifties Britain with Kinsey’s effect on America. She wrote as she cooked: with simplicity, purity, color, self-effacing authority, and a respect for tradition.
— Julian Barnes, The New Yorker
Every time I reread one of Elizabeth David’s books, I discover details to inspire me anew. Her words reach all my senses. The life around the table, the setting, the conversation—not just the food—are all part of her inimitable aesthetic.
— Alice Waters
David studies and analyzes cooking the way a scholar analyzes literature, and, as a result, her titles are far more than just cookbooks.
— Library Journal
The best food writer of her time.
— Jane Grigson, TLS
Mediterranean Food changed forever the way my parents’ generation thought about cooking. It was as though everything before then had been in black and white; now it was in color. And even today, a half-century later, anyone truly interested in food has a well-thumbed and spotted copy of that book on the kitchen shelf.
— The New York Observer
This wonderful book, evoking the colorful plentitude of the food markets and sun-dappled tables of Mediterranean countries, still possesses the power to elevate and occasionally startle the reader.
— Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe