David, Elizabeth

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

David, Elizabeth

Elizabeth David, 1914–92, English food writer, b. Elizabeth Gwynne. Daughter of a wealthy Conservative MP, she cut her culinary eyeteeth in Paris while studying at the Sorbonne, then developed her literary style and taste for fine food while living in the south of France, in Italy, on a Greek island, and in Egypt during World War II. She returned to an England that had suffered through wartime and postwar shortage and rationing, which made an already notoriously bland diet more dismal. David soon began a quiet culinary revolution. With wit, wisdom, and various cookery ingredients previously considered suspiciously foreign, she introduced the English to fresh, flavorful fare and a sensual approach to the art of eating. David's cornucopia of influential books, famous for their refined style and historical accuracy, include the pioneering A Book of Mediterranean Food (1949), French Country Cooking (1951), Italian Food (1954), French Provincial Cooking (1960), and the pieces collected in An Omelette and a Glass of Wine (1984). Her later works often concentrate on livening up traditional English fare. Posthumously published collections of her work are Harvest of the Cold Months (1995) and Is There a Nutmeg in the House? (2001).

See biographies by L. Chaney (1998) and A. Cooper (2000).

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