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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,175 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Contains delightful explorations of food and cooking, among which are the collection's namesake essay and many other gems; with black-and-white photographs and illustrations.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Lyons Press (first published January 1st 1984)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  1,175 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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I've been reading this book for quite some time, mostly while eating lol. I really like to read about food, and the author definitely has a way with words, but sometimes her elitism got on my nerves. Especially when she talks about servants as being nothing more than machines... Also, I understand the times were different, but there was so much talk about eating mounds of steaming meat - I don't know how to say it, I eat meat myself from time to time, even though I feel bad afterwards - but in t ...more
This is a collection of various magazine articles and newspaper columns - with a particular focus on the Spectator and Sunday Times in the 50's. I enjoy David's writing and in particular, her determination to move England away from the curse of the over-accessorized cooking that dominated during the 20th C. Of course, her passion is for French cooking and it is the pieces here that focus on her experiences and influences in France that stand out. Though I imagine it must have been somewhat tires ...more
Dec 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was dicing the garlic, getting ready slip it in the pan with some fragrant olive oil. The shrimp awaited in a bowl to the left, and the herbs from the garden were already minced and ready in a small glass bowl. There was a call from the back door from my sweetheart, who had just arrived home.

"I think you got a book in the mail", he said giving me a kiss hello.

And, low and behold, he was right! Just handling the book got my taste buds going!

I do so like books about food, especially those that g
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
I hate to say it, but sometimes my like/dislike of book is based on the typeset and formatting of the text. This book's font, spacing, et al. reminded me too much of college texts to be anything of literary meat, and so I started reading with an unfair bias. However, I tried to literally read through the lines, but this book felt "British": formal, structured, within its boundaries. I felt that Elizabeth David was an extreme Francophile who looked down her nose at her own countrymen. Granted, I ...more
Mar 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: domestic-arts
Escapist food writing, perfect for pandemic times
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm in the middle of this collection of articles and essays by Elizabeth David, published mostly in the 50s-70s in the British press (The Spectator, The Guardian, British Vogue). She reminds me of a less excitable version of MFK Fisher, the California-based food writer who wrote about her culinary travels through Europe during the 30s-50s. David's writing is elegant and opinionated--admonishing the British public for its reliance on tinned, ready-made food instead of the lovingly made, if not si ...more
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
I have a food-centric book club going with a group of Seattle food friends, and we wanted to read one of the classic food writers of the 20th century. We chose Elizabeth David. She's an excellent writer, but this one didn't speak to me as I expected. I suspect it suffers from something we've talked about in my Favorite Book Club -- she's such an icon (and mimicked by latter writers) that her works almost seemed derivative. She was likely the original voice, so I feel a tad guilty finding her ess ...more
Jan 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like the book as much as the title but, sadly, I didn't. Three hundred and fifty pages of mostly short 3-5 page articles, not essays, feels a bit like taking constant little gasps and never getting a deep breath. I'm sure it was wonderful for it's time and has good historic value. ...more
Alessandra Dreyer
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
I don't understand why Elizabeth David is as herald as she is. The prose doesn't sing, the imagery feels dull. ...more
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A great book to read bits of before bed: an article about apples here, a memoir of a French picnic there, all great fun and often very witty (but don't read it on an empty stomach!) ...more
Nor Finn
Jun 27, 2012 rated it did not like it

Couldn't get into the writing & it had weird margins making it more difficult to read.
Anne MacDonald
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clearly for anyone who has any memory of what English (or for that matter Australian) cooking used to be like, loves ironic writing, and/or cooking. Great turn of phrase
Notes for me: A combination memoir cookbook which seems to be the case for most of David's worth. Her recipes can be vague to the modern cook who is looking for a certain exactitude in the initial cooking of a recipe. Her own personal passions for food come forth on a regular basis: potted meats (to excess of the American cook,) and rather than a choice of desserts she returns again and again to fresh fruit (berries) and every variation of fools, jams, curds, syllabubs, triffles and oddly names ...more
Simon Petherick
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth David was the finest writer on food that the UK ever produced. Her work was an inspiration to the current generation of food writers, yet none of them has matched her intensity and devotion to her craft. I tried briefly to summarise that here: It would be good if the 100th anniversary of her birth could be celebrated by a new high quality edition of her works. Anyway, this particular volume is a great introduction to her writing, with pithy essa ...more
Dec 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: misc-nonfiction
I abandoned this book, with only about a quarter of it left.

It's a collection of essays Elizabeth David wrote for various food and fashion magazines from post-WW2 until the 70s or 80s.

David writes in a really quirky but dated, quintessentially British fashion. It's enjoyable, but was a bit exhausting for me. Some of the essays are really fun, and they make you want to cook a big meal for friends. Her rallying cry against the bastardization of hollandaise is really amusing because, for me, it's
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really beautiful writing, but the pace was just too slow. It's more a collection of essays and articles, so thematically it wasn't really tied together. I also find her to be a little wordy, but that may just be that styles have changed over time and I'm used to more conciseness. At any rate, it's a lovely book to peruse over time - I found it difficult to focus on this as my only book. It was more the kind of thing you'd like to dip into over time.

She seems to have had a very interesting life;
Al Maki
Jan 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm an admirer of Elizabeth David's cook books. I have most of them and have been using them steadily since the '70s. But this book didn't work for me. It seems to me that when you write about sensory/sensual experiences you can either try to categorize them, "tastes of cherries and old leather" or you can try to evoke it. The first produces a technical book which this is not and this book didn't succeed in evocation for me. I highly recommend her cook books, but for writing about the experience ...more
it's always lovely to read someone writing about a thing they're genuinely passionate about, and elizabeth david sure loved her food! some of it hasn't aged well (interested in the perfect way to serve *hnngh* headcheese?) and it's all rather too focused on french food, a cuisine i am almost totally indifferent about, for my taste. however, there were enough interesting/charming vignettes, food history and tips and tricks to make it worth while. ...more
marissa  sammy
May 02, 2008 rated it liked it
The evocative and luscious descriptions of her French food excursions are charming; her name-checking essays less so. I think the latter essays rely on the celebrities and culture of a certain Britain that I'm not familiar enough with to enjoy. But who cares about that when you can read all the happy gastronomic discoveries that Ms. David trips upon when travelling The Continent? ...more
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book again- I love Elizabeth David! Very posh but she does speak the truth. Every time I think about eating a junky dinner because I can't be bothered cooking, I think about her simple and refined meal suggestions (salad of hard boiled eggs, anchovies, black olives, washed down with a cold glass of white) and feel ashamed. ...more
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gastroporn
This writer changed the way post war English middle classes ate. Elizabeth David is my very favourite food writer. Beautifully observed seductive prose. If you have never read any Elizabeth David start here.
Dec 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Fun and colorful essays on food and wine, from the vantage point of her life in France and England. Includes some great culinary history, tradition, and recipes, but a few of the market descriptions went on too long.
Dec 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
One of the all-time classic food writers and a spiritual mentor to Alice Waters. Omnivore Books, in Noe Valley, has a marvelous collection of David books that are either out-of-print or U.K. editions. Unfortunately, she's not that easy to find in the U.S. (at least, last time I looked...) ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Is it possible to be nostalgic for the Twentieth Century? Elizabeth David is one of Nigella Lawson's major influences. Ms. David was witty and EXPERT. She really knew her stuff and she clearly enjoyed sharing her experiences. Her writing and experiences are so elegant. Sigh. ...more
p.52 Omelette Moliere
p.178 Tomates a la creme
p.199 English Lemon Curd
p.200 Short Crust for Lemon Curd Pie
p.201 To Preserve Lemons in Cloves
p.235 My Own Version of Everlasting Syllabub
Oct 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book of Elizabeth David's personal stories.
It is wonderful.
Please read it.
Kate W
Apr 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-literature
I love her writing style.
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
No one writes about food like Elizabeth David.
Rereading. It's a bit like comfort food, really, Elizabeth David's work. ...more
Caitlin Brady
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth David loves food, and so do I. I loved reading this!
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Essays by Elizabeth David 1 7 Oct 15, 2008 11:35AM  

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Born Elizabeth Gwynne, she was of mixed English and Irish ancestry, and came from a rather grand background, growing up in the 17th-century Sussex manor house, Wootton Manor. Her parents were Rupert Gwynne, Conservative MP for Eastbourne, and the Hon. Stella Ridley, who came from a distinguished Northumberland family. They had three other daughters.

She studied Literature and History at the Sorbonn

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