Kate Young on Elizabeth David

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Doyenne of the literary supper club and author of the forthcoming Little Library Cookbook Kate Young answers our questions on Elizabeth David, our Author of the Month for March.

How do you think Elizabeth David has influenced British food culture?

I’m always cheered by the warmth and optimism of her books – the first having been published while rationing was still having a significant impact in domestic kitchens. Instead of making do with what was on offer, she gave lists of ingredients not yet widely available: things like garlic and olive oil, now staples in many British kitchens.

I read Elizabeth David many years after she was first published, but my granny remembers her books as her introduction to good Italian food. Hers are recipes I still use now.

Do you think her reputation is deserved? Are there any of her contemporaries that you think should have a bit more of the limelight?

I think her writing encouraged British cooks to look to the continent for inspiration. Her writing is beautiful and she had an indelible impact on the food we continue to put on our plates today.

What would you cook for her?

Food in England now is endlessly exciting. There is real interest in provenance and seasonality that I imagine would please her. I’d want her to see how much of an impact cuisines from Europe and further afield have had too. I'd love to cook her something with a Japanese, or Central American, or Middle Eastern influence.

Kate Young blogs at the Little Library Café; her ‘Little Library Cookbook’ will be published in October 2017. Elizabeth David is our Author of the Month for March; find out more about her work here.

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