Is There a Nutmeg in the House?: Essays on Practical Cooking with More Than 150 Recipes

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9780142001660: Is There a Nutmeg in the House?: Essays on Practical Cooking with More Than 150 Recipes

The sequel to her much-acclaimed An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, Is There a Nutmeg in the House? gathers a selection of Elizabeth David's writings, spanning four decades. Insisting that food need not be complicated to be delicious, she emphasizes the practical aspects of cooking and eating. More than 150 recipes from many countries are included, all bearing David's unmistakable personal touch. Always elegant and witty, her writing conveys her sense of season and place, as well as her passionate interest in food, its history, its myriad personalities, and its role in civilized society.

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Review:

If you care about food, you must read Elizabeth David. Author of nine definitive books, including Italian Food and French Provincial Cooking, her writings famously helped reawaken the postwar British palate while educating, through authentic recipes and compelling investigation, a generation of cooks about food and its joys. Is There a Nutmeg in the House?--a second posthumous anthology (David died in 1992)--contains previously uncollected essays, journalism, and correspondence, plus 150 recipes, all of which reveal the author at her wonderfully informative best. Readers will delight in her opinionated yet embracing sensibility, her unerring sense of what makes food not only good but genuine--true to itself and the people who make it.

The book is divided into course-based chapters that net David's wide-ranging essays and recipes. The essays explore, among other topics, the story of bouillon cubes; the virtues of nutmeg; the uselessness of garlic presses; the nature of the ideal kitchen (keep refrigerators far away from stoves, she advises); and the best way to poach an egg (David quotes an historical source on the subject, with whom she agrees that if the eggs aren't fresh, "it is not in the power of the best cook in the Kingdom to poach [them] handsome"). The recipes run the gamut from a brilliant pizza quartet (Roman, Provençal, Armenian, and Genovese variations) to Beans in the Tuscan Bean Jar (a flasklike container that ensures even cooking) to ice creams and other tempting desserts like the Victorian Lemon and Brown Sugar Cake. With woodcuts and other illustration, the book is a treasure. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author:

Elizabeth David (1913-1992) published eight books during her lifetime, from the evocative Book of Mediterranean Food to the masterly English Bread and Yeast Cookery.

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