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June 2009 COTM: ELIZABETH DAVID CLASSICS

Well -- we don't need a runoff this month! The winner is clear:

ELIZABETH DAVID CLASSICS: MEDITERRANEAN FOOD, FRENCH COUNTRY FOOD AND SUMMER COOKING by Elizabeth David.

The early decision should give us all ample time to get the book! I already checked mine out of the library and started peeking. Thanks for nominating, everyone! Looking forward to this.

*foxy*

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  1. I love Elizabeth David, but I think if you want to go the classic route, a safer bet would be to take "South Wind through the Kitchen," which is a marvelous anthology of her best writing and presents all the recipes in forms edited for American readers. "Is There a Nutmeg in the House?" is also to be recommended.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Father Kitchen

      I just picked up a copy of Nutmeg! Yay!

      ~TDQ

      1. re: Father Kitchen

        Lots of people already have the Classics book I think. Plus we're not all American. :-)

      2. FF, I only have Summer cooking (not the other two), will there be a way to participate, even though I don't have the other two in the volume? (Should I ever be able to tear myself away from work again to do any cooking.)

        ~TDQ

        33 Replies
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          TDQ, you have a third of what's there, and it will be summer, sort of, so I think you're doing okay, unless you were asking about accessing recipes from the other books in the volume?

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Nope, that was exactly what I was asking! Thank you!

            ~TDQ

          2. re: The Dairy Queen

            I don't see that being an issue at all. Lots of recipes. I happend to have all three books, but as separate volumes - I'm wondering how the pagination will be, since we usually all put the page number when we refer to a recipe.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I agree that pagination is going to be an annoyance, perhaps. Also, will there be difference between US and UK versions? I was going to suggest we mention recipe name, page number, book, edition of the book, as in,

              Chilled tomato soup, page YY, Summer Cooking, U.S. 19XX version

              It seems so cumbersome...

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                I'm not sure - maybe we should do a test - which Summer Cooking do you have?

                Mine is published by New York Review of Books, with the forward by Molly O'Neill, and was published in 2002. I made her mayonnaise recipe yesterday, and it appears on the middle of p. 150. My "A Book of Mediterranean Food" is from the same publisher and year, with a foreward by Clarissa Dickson Wright (of the Two Fat Ladies). Both of these have conversion tables for British vs. American measurements.

                My "French Country Cooking" is published by Penguin in England, and this one was printed in 2001 ("Reprinted with further revisions" - since ED was dead at this point, I wonder what revisions were made, and why). This book does not have the conversion tables, and was ordered for me by a local bookstore from England.

                In ED's introductions to editions following the first edition, she does note the types of changes she made, and why. Of course, that only makes me curious enough to want to compare different editions.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  My book is at home (and I only have summer cooking), so, I will respond later today. I know what you mean about comparing editions!

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    MMRuth--that's my version of summer cooking, too!

                    ~TDQ

                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Mine all date from the mid-70's (Penguins). I doubt recipe titles would have changed, wouldn't it be OK just to name the dish since the titles should be in the indices in whatever edieion?

                    1. re: buttertart

                      This is the edition I have:

                      HC : 650 Pages
                      Publisher: Biscuit Books
                      Pub. Date: Jan 02, 1998
                      Photos: Black and White Illustrations.....
                      (Which look like Clip Art to me)

                      1. re: Gio

                        Are the pages consecutive in your book?

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          The first book within the book is, "A Book of Mediterranean Food. The Intro by James Beard starts on pg. 5, E.D.'s acknowledgements are on pg. 7...
                          The first chapter is Soup and starts on pg. 15
                          The last chapter is Sauces and starts on pg., 185.... the book ends at pg. 196... all the pages seem to run consecutively.

                          The 2nd book is the French one and the last is Summer Cooking.

                          There is a cumulative Index at the very back of the book. Page references are preceded by: M for Mediterranean, F for French, S for Summer.....

                          I recant what I said about the clip art illustrations. They're line drawings. Pretty nice, too!

                          1. re: Gio

                            OK - so the numbering of the French one starts off where Summer ends?

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              MM: Each book is an entity unto itself. The French book starts on pg. 1 and proceeds to its last page - pg.199. So too the Summer book.which begins on its own page 1 and ends on its own page 244.
                              The Index is after that.

                              1. re: Gio

                                I have a relatively new edition which is the one for sale on Amazon published by Grub Street in 1999. It isn't arranged like Gio's - it goes from page 1 to page 640.

                        2. re: Gio

                          I only have Summer Cooking and my library doesn't have French, only Mediterranean... So, I just picked up a used copy of the version Gio has on Amazon. I'm going to sell my "Summer Cooking" back. If I'm going to have an Elizabeth David book, I might as well have one that includes all three, especially if my library doesn't have them all. I have the feeling that I'm going to end up concluding that every serious cook needs to have Elizabeth David in her collection.

                          I like the fact that each of the three books maintains its own numbering scheme in the edition that Gio has.

                          Gio, in summer cooking, what page does the mayonnaise recipe appear on? The one that appears on pg. 150 in MMRuth's book?

                          I really really hope I have time to cook from these books in June. If not June, I might slide a little into July as I really want to dig into summer cooking and med cooking.

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            In my edition, the Mayonnaise recipe is on page 164 of the Summer book.

                            I'm thinking that we need not give the page number, but the book title and the name of the recipe. If folks want to make it there's the Index. Mayonnaise, Summer Cooking.

                            In the index of SC the mayo recipe is listed as the main heading then several other recipes which include mayo as an ingredient. By chance they're all in the Summer book.

                            1. re: Gio

                              Interesting! Yes, it sounds like just the name of the book and recipe name will be enough.

                              MMRuth, I can't wait to start reading this book. It looks very readable.

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: Gio

                                In my Summer Cooking book the recipes for Raspberry Ice Cream, Raspberry Water Ice and Gooseberry Fool are on page 164...of course, it was printed in GB in 1969.

                                I don't see what all the fuss is about pagination....can't we look up the recipes in the index and find them ourselves? As long as everyone puts the correct name of each recipe?

                                My Med. and French Country book is published quaintly by The Cookery Book Club and has this charming intro: "It is a pleasure to read a cookery book written with such charm and discrimination." Ambrose Heath in The Queen

                                I already made her Apricot Ice Cream (p. 160 of Summer Cooking) which was heavenly. Of course this had a great deal to do with the good quality of the apricots. It's very easy and has no eggs or cooking.

                                I can NOT wait for June!

                                1. re: oakjoan

                                  Goodness - Apricot Ica Cream??? I Love apricots and the farm we shop at during the Summer has them in season. I don't have an ica cream maker, however, Can I just mix it up and put it in the freezer? BYW: In the 3-in-1 bedition I have the recipe is on page 175. I just Had to look it up.

                                  Oakjoan, I agree with you about just citing the recipe and the book. That's sufficient for anyone, I should think.

                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                    Me neither, especially my "field research" in the Dordogne. Did I mention that? ;-)

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      Ah, what a wit! I tell ya, the joshing just keeps on coming! I don't think they have abricots in the Dordogne, only foie gras. They do have foie gras in the shape of abricots, though.

                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  It's really worth reading her introductions etc. - a lot of good advice to be found there.

                              2. re: buttertart

                                I think we might want to at least name the title of the recipe and the name of the book...

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  We could abbreviate with M, S, F, the way the Gio said the index is organized for Classics.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    This month's online spreadsheet will need to be a paging categorization/legend. It is getting complicated!

                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      Ha ha! When I was doing the organizing, some months were v. easy in terms of setting up threads, while others (like Vietnamese) were a time-consuming struggle to get it "workable".

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        Ditto what MMR says above. Fuchsia Dunlop was my biggest challenge as moderator.

                                    2. re: MMRuth

                                      Recipe name and M, S, F makes sense to me given the wide range of editions possessed.

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Me too - I think to do anything more would just be tiresome and cumbersome.

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          I agree, recipe name and book name (or short-hand book name, is it may be.)

                                          WOOHOO

                                          ~TDQ

                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                              DAIRY QUEEN -- by all means -- cook with us from Summer Cooking! :)

                              I was able to get a copy of all three in one from the library. In terms of flavors, this differs so so SO much from Cradle that I was laughing to myself as I paged through this the other day... though I think the approaches overlap, in terms of viewing cooking as as a relaxed art, buying freshest ingredients, following ideas from home cooks with recipes handed down for generations.

                              *foxy*

                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                Yes, yes, yes,,,,, TDQ! Please join us. I just Googled and found 189,000 results for elizabeth david recipes from all her books..... Even if you just cooked from the Summer book that would be a great addition to the mix, but I think, if you wanted to, you'd also find recipes from the other 2 books as well.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Excellent! Thank you Gio and Foxy Fairy! I really hope my schedule frees up in June. Also, my CSA will be resuming in June, so, this timing will be perfect!

                                  ~TDQ

                            3. Found a used copy on Amazon for around $14. It's on the way.

                              39 Replies
                              1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                David - that's wonderful! Have you cooked along with the COTM in the past??

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Not in the past, but this looks like a good selection of books at the right time of year, so I'll give it a go!

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I never have, and I"ve got the all in one version. Help me out: How does this work?

                                    1. re: jmckee

                                      This will help explain the mechanics a bit, and also show you which books have been done in the past:

                                      http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

                                      I can't believe we've been doing this for almost three years. You might also want to click in the "master thread" linked to for each month's book, and then link to individual threads there, that are organized depending on the book(s). For example, one book could have Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Chicken, Meat, Fish, Side Dishes, and Dessert.

                                      Do post back here if you have more questions. We have a lot of fun, and you can participate as much or as little as you want in a given month, or from month to month.

                                      1. re: jmckee

                                        Ah, MMRuth beat me to posting the link...so, I shall just say, welcome aboard! The more cooks, the merrier.

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: jmckee

                                          Welcome!!

                                          MMRuth has given all you need to know. I joined the COTM group in June 2008 when Country Cooking by Edna Lewis was chosen. I skipped a month, then cooked a month,,, you can do as little or as much as you want or have time for. When you do make a recipe we like to read what your experience was. That helps us to decide on the same recipe or move on to another. What's wonderful about COTM is that there are so many enthusiastic home cooks who have such an amazingly wide knowledge of various cuisines that you learn techniques, ingredients and the culture of the country whose food you're cooking almost by osmosis. No question ever goes unanswered, each cook is more than willing to help in all sorts of ways so you have a better understanding of the whys and wherefores of the cookbook at hand. Please join and have fun with us cooking amazing dishes from all over the world!

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            And, some of us like to take and post photos. I'm a bit compulsive about it and my husband usually knows dinner is ready when he hears the flash go off!

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              While determining which E. David edition, volume, etc. I had, I happened upon a recipe for Vitello Tonnato. Wow! I hadn't thought of that in years and have only made it once. Now my mouth is watering.

                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                I made that the other day, using the mayonnaise that I mentioned making, above. I will note that it is indeed the consistency of an ointment, as she says, and thicker than I am used to, since it is all olive oil. Simon Hopkinson notes in Roast Chicken that he and she disagreed on the consistency and flavour of mayonnaise, and that he prefers to make it with a combination of olive oil and peanut, or anothe flavourless, oil.

                                                The Vitello Tonnato was wonderful - though I used leftover sliced pork roast instead - much cheaper, and an alternative proferred by Hazan (so I figured it was ok).

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  MMRuth, missing you on May's COTM. . . . Not into Indonesian?

                                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                                    I'd love to do Indonesian, and saw the book, which looks glorious. However, my husband got a bit tired of my doing COTM, and, I've been focusing a lot of my cooking on British cooking and Elizabeth David, which makes her selection for June rather serendipitous. While I know I've sung her praises lately, I wasn't the one to bring her up this time. ;-)

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      maybe you could slip him some fried chicken, not telling him the cuisine?? Or beef rendang, which is scrumptious (and no origin need be disclosed)

                                                      1. re: NYchowcook

                                                        Oh dear - first I smuggle in new books from Kitchen Arts and Letters each week, now I'm going fake that I'm not cooking from COTM? ;-)

                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                          This raises a new issue that doesn't seem to have appeared before on Chowhound. Is it unfaithful to one's spouse to not reveal that one is cooking from COTM? Is not taking a photo betrayal?
                                                          And how about those cookbooks smuggled in??

                                                          1. re: NYchowcook

                                                            My point exactly! And I love to take photos of my cooking from COTM to post! Maybe I need a spy camera in dishtowel or something.

                                                          2. re: MMRuth

                                                            MMRUTH --- I am laughing out loud here. So funny to pretend not to be cooking from COTM... wonder what your husband makes of all of us, and all of this? My SO was initially suspicious. Not so, now that she's sampled the wondrous results. Her favorite is raspberry (not we make it with blackberries) chicken from Silver Palate -- an interesting choice for favorite! Oh wait, she also loves Mario's cacciatore.

                                                        2. re: MMRuth

                                                          ahh, the husband dilemma. Mid-month (October 2008) Mr. Clam told me I should kick Mario out of the kitchen....

                                                          Looking forward to June! Have ordered my copy form the RI library system. BTW, for other Rhode Islanders, there are two more copies in the Clan system. One is available and one is due back May 29.

                                                          1. re: clamscasino

                                                            clamscasino --

                                                            1. Did you and Mr. Clam like any of the Mario recipes?

                                                            2. I am also in Rhode Island! Wow. I didn't know that I was in the company of other avid COTM-ers here in the Ocean State. I found some great Asian markets in Providence as I researched for May's Cradle of Flavor ingredients. Great to know there' s another local participant!

                                                            1. re: foxy fairy

                                                              Foxy, we liked Mario's recipe for short ribs...but I cooked that during the Leite's Culinaria month. That being said, I only tried a few recipes. My failures have as much to do with the problem of finding the ingredients. (I'm on Block Island - no salt packed anchovies here, and forget about the cheeses, pancetta and specific wines.)

                                                              Got my inter-library loan copy of Elizabeth David yesterday...thank you Newport! Now where am I going to find me some pigeon?

                                                              1. re: clamscasino

                                                                Hey clams.... do what Sam would: get gun, look for pigeon.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  Downtown Providence, here I come! No pigeons here unless they are someone's homing pigeons...and their owner is a much better shot than I.

                                                                2. re: clamscasino

                                                                  Do you have a Providence shop that sells squab?

                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                    Uh...no...but look for me on the channel 10 news: Gene Valicenti will say: "today a woman from Block Island was arrested for trying to shoot pigeons in front of the State House. She says we was just trying to get some birds in order to participate in a "cookbook of the month" project on the internet." :)

                                                                        1. re: clamscasino

                                                                          Are you kidding me? I'd be giving you a medal for getting rid of some of these pesky creatures! I've often been surrounded by pigeons and thought, if only we could eat these things safely.... City chickens...

                                                                          1. re: moh

                                                                            Pigeon Terrine, here we come! (Summer, pg 34.)

                                                                            1. re: clamscasino

                                                                              I'm inviting myself for dinner. My mother used to summer on Block Island. I can't wait to see what she loved.....

                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                Well Gio, I've been thinking about this. She probably loved the fresh air, summer breezes, gorgeous sunsets and rolling green hills traced with rustic stone walls. (Everybody did, and they still do!) Depending on when she was here, she probably also loved fresh fish and shellfish, wild blackberries and farm fresh fruits and veggies. Maybe even some home-smoked hams...When was she here anyway?

                                                                                1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                  I've never been to Block Island but from what I've read and what you've described it sounds heavenly.

                                                                                  My mother summered there from 1919 to about 1926 I'm guessing. She stayed with her NYC vocal coach and his family at a lovely beach house, from what I can gather looking at old photos.

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    Well, in the late 1800's the Southeast lighthouse was built, as was a breakwater in "Old Harbor." Those two things made travel to the island much less treacherous and thus started an era in which most of the grand old hotels were built. But before that the island was rather isolated and very agricultural. Most people had a home orchard. Most of those were destroyed in the Hurricane of '38 and were never replanted (but I have one that survived the storm.) But fish were still plentiful, and swordfish were especially sought after....

                                                                                    The wonderful thing about Block Island is that it still manages to have that wonderful old-fashioned aura. Despite the proliferation of McMansions we have seen in recent years, we still have no McDonald's.

                                                                      1. re: clamscasino

                                                                        I was wondering myself about all those species of fish we don't see too often over here in New York, and then just the other day I noticed John Dory, which she mentions frequently, imported from New Zealand and staring at me from the window of The Lobster Place on Bleecker St. in Manhattan.

                                                                        1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                                                          Aha.... John Dory for you - Barramundi for me. In our local supermatket of all places. There was a large-ish whole fish in the case and when I asked what it was the clerk had to go "out back" to ask. When she returned she had a card with the name written and said, "It;s a new fish we're going to carry. I can't pronounce the name." Of course I told her.... and now look forward to cooking this delicacy. Baramundi....

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            Don't recall now, Gio, whether you participated in "Sunday Suppers at Lucques," but there's a really terrific recipe for baramundi in the Winter Menu section. Thanks for reminding me how much I liked it.

                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3970...

                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              I didn't participate in the original month but in the revisitation. I cannot wait to try cooking this fish. The ones I saw looked large. I have never cooked a whole fish before.... well not one like this one,...little trout and mackerel don't count, do they? Thank for the link... gotta go look.

                                                                              Edit: Just read your report and I must say that's a very ambitions recipe,,,, but very good to read through. It's good to have something to let me know what to expect. My next thoughut is to look into the James Peterson book.

                                                                          2. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                                                            One thing I've been thinking about in perusing her books and planning for June is that I wish I could find a site that was helpful in terms of making fish substitutions, etc. In one book, she refers to "coarse fish", which I then learned apparently refers to all fresh water fish other than trout or salmon.

                                                                            1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                                                              Been sighted at Fairway as well. Guess when April Bloomfeld opens a restaurant called John Dory, the retailers figure they can sell the fish.

                                                                  2. re: MMRuth

                                                                    Maiale Tonnato...mmmmm, sounds great.

                                                                3. re: MMRuth

                                                                  Well, I leave for the Outer Banks of NC on June 5, so I believe I'll take the book with me. And I always take pictures of the food I make while we're there. Helps me remember lovely fresh seafood in my landlocked existence the rest of the year.

                                                        3. I'm looking forward to participating - I love Elizabeth David!

                                                          1. I just found out my library ordered it and has it on reserve for me! I haven't participated in one of these before, and hopefully will have more time in June to do so! Plus, I'm getting married in 10 days and will be living with someone who will hopefully help with dishes a little more ;-)
                                                            I hadn't heard of Elizabeth David til someone mentioned it for June, so I'm excited to learn who she is and what she's about!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Erinmck

                                                              Welcome aboard COTM and many blessings on your upcoming wedding!

                                                              ~TDQ

                                                              1. re: Erinmck

                                                                Congratulations on your wedding and your marriage, Erinmck! Welcome to COTM.

                                                                I've found COTM to be a great opportunity to share adventures in the kitchen, with friends, family, coworkers, and of course significant other. Here's a tip, if you document your recipes with photographs -- I ask SO to operate the camera so I can focus on getting the food done and not obsess over getting the perfect photo too.