A Baker’s Dozen of British Cookbooks for the Christmas Season – Book #4

Elizabeth David presents yet another example of how British culinary sensibilities influenced American cuisine. None other than Alice Waters attributes her love of terroir to Elizabeth David’s work, citing the cover of Ms. David’s French Provincial Cooking as representing how she wanted food to be. And thus Chez Panisse was born. The rest is history, as they…

Food, the Dog Days of Summer, and a Few Other Shocking Facts

The dog days of summer arrive, as they always do, abruptly and relentless with a seemingly never-ending swelter.  Visions of panting tongues and listless tails crowd my thoughts. But what does that phrase have to do with summer heat? A quick glance at an etymological source informs me that real, breathing dogs played no role in the…

Cutting Boards and French Comfort Food

Worn and well-used cutting boards like mine, made from one piece of blonde oak, tell stories of past meals. This gouge here, that’s from the day I sliced the boule with the extra thick crust, for the open-faced cheese-and-tomato sandwiches. And that dent there, well, I pressed a little too hard on the chef’s knife…

When it Comes to Writing, Define Your Terms

There is communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk. ~~ M. F. K. Fisher With every story ever told, there’s usually a beginning, at least in an ideal world. The reader progresses toward a soft plump middle, where the real action occurs, like a jelly doughnut harboring cherry filling….

Ladies of the Pen and the Cookpot: Elizabeth David

Foxed, spotted, acid-rich, the paper crackles under the slightest touch of my hands. The book’s an old Penguin paperback, worth only 74 cents on Amazon.com. As I turn the pages of French Country Cooking (1951), I vaguely recall a comment I once read, written by food activist and restaurateur Alice Waters in her book, The…