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Is There a Nutmeg in the House?: Essays on Practical Cooking With More Than 150 Recipes (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – nov 2002

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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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6 di 6 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Culinary Essays by a Master. Leftovers, but still Tasty 16 agosto 2004
Di B. Marold - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
Elizabeth David was a leading practitioner of a rare breed, the culinary essayist. The culinary species of this genus is rare because essays in general seem to be a dying breed. The most prominent modern American culinary essayist is John Thorne. While Thorne's primary influence was Richard Olney, Olney and David were of a single mind in style and in many opinions about food. Olney and David together were the patron saints of the invention of the distinctively California cuisine, both being cited by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, Jeremiah Tower of Chez Panisse and Stars, and Judy Rodgers of the Zuni Grill as their primary inspirations.

David seems to have had an even bigger effect on English eating. In fact, her effect on English home cooking seems to have been strongly parallel to that of the recently departed Julia Child on American home kitchens in the writers' influence on how supermarkets stock their produce aisles with more unusual fruits and vegetables. The parallel goes even further, as both were relatively tall, both were born to well to do families with little interest in culinary quality, and both served in unusual and important posts overseas during World War II. While Child was an OSS clerk in Southeast Asia, David was a librarian to the Foreign Service in Egypt. At this point, their culinary careers follow different paths. Child becomes the consummate interpreter and teacher of French cuisine while David becomes the critic and interpreter of French and Mediterranean cuisine to her English audience. Both held very strong opinions. Child tended to keep hers out of her writing, but David felt free to offer reasoned opinions on just about anything which crossed her path.

This volume should be a warning to journeyman writers everywhere that it is not wise to comment on the work of important writers, especially important writers whose work promises to be reprinted long after their death. Early in the book, David comments on some inaccuracies in writings on her work and career, and, I suspect, her criticisms of these mistakes will be read long after the original authors are forgotten, or, worse, remembered only for their misstatements about Ms. David.

This volume was published posthumously but with the selection of material done largely by the author shortly before her death, as a sequel to the volume `An Omelette and a Glass of Wine'. Most pieces are magazine articles comprised of an essay on some ingredient, followed by recipes on the same ingredient or subject. Like David's cookbooks, I read her articles on ingredients and recipes less to actually make the specific dishes and more to educate my thinking about food. One fine example is her essay on rosemary in which she complains about the overuse of this herb in many dishes and by many cuisines such as the Greek use with lamb. The following essay is a liberating discussion of dried herbs, pointing out that fresh herbs are simply not always better. Many herbs attain their best effect when dried.

I like to believe that John Thorne's fussiness with culinary nomenclature comes from, or at least is reinforced by Elizabeth David's insistence that you maintain some semblance of fidelity to the meaning of words, as when she exhorts us to limit the name Quiche Lorraine to a preparation with pastry shell, eggs, cream, and bacon. Cheese is simply not part of the paradigm. She adds to a warmly cordial reference to Child's `Mastering the Art of French Cooking' part of the blame for this linguistic larceny, as Child says the dish is very easy and gives license to improvise.

The variety of subjects is great and engaging, ranging from egg dishes to encounters with publishers, a rather arcane subject which I always find interesting, going back as far as my reading of H.L. Menchen's cordial connection to Alfred A. Knopf. David's relations with publishers was not as cordial. While the evidence that this book is collected from leftovers, they are almost universally leftovers which were originally of a very high quality and which have improved with age, as there are few culinary writers who can match David's turn of phrase and highly balanced sensibilities about ingredients and their use.

I would rank this volume high in value as a part of a culinary library.
3 di 3 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle A fine and quirky food mind on show 15 febbraio 2002
Di Jessica Weissman - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
Elizabeth David wrote cookbooks and food essays; many of the more personal ones were already collected in the amazing and wonderous An Omelette and a Glass of Wine. But this book has plenty of gems, too. I don't agree with everything she says, but I certainly want to listen to her saying it.
Get An Omelette and a Glass of Wine first, then this one if you want more.
5.0 su 5 stelle Readable and charming 27 giugno 2008
Di Loren Williams - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
This, like Elizabeth David's other books, is a charming and pleasant read. You will find her excellent company - whether you're looking for interesting recipe ideas (her recipes are generally very simple and down-to-earth, not fifteen-ingredient monstrosities) or whether you'd just like to read about the world of food, cooks, and eating.
2 di 12 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
2.0 su 5 stelle Dregs from the files of an Anglocentric food critic 19 dicembre 2001
Di Robert T. Myers - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida Acquisto verificato
I bought this book based on a review in the New York Times Review of Books, as I recall, which painted it as being a great posthumous oeuvre of one of the top food writers of all time.
What I found instead is that Elizabeth David is highly biased against entirely random things, and I am not sure why I should be interested in sharing, or even hearing about these biases; she has extremely arcane interests ranging from cookbooks of 400 years ago to the cuisine of some tiny region of Italy or wherever, to some obsure ingredient; and her writing itself is not particularly stimulating or enlightening. Furthermore, the entire book has a highly Anglocentric aspect which to me, at least, is irrelevant and uninteresting.
5 di 6 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle a must-read for all food lovers 10 gennaio 2003
Di Karen Sampson Hudson - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile
Elizabeth David is the woman who has restored good eating to England. For many decades the British were known for what might tactfully be called "plain cooking"---overdone roasts, vegetables boiled beyond recognition, oversweet, gooey desserts. In her eight books and in her columns, David enthusiastically re-introduced the British to fresh vegetables, delicate sauces, simple desserts, and flavorful, whole-grain bread.
At the age of 16, this daughter of the landed gentry was sent to France for a cultural education and came home with a lifelong passion for good cooking. "Is There a Nutmeg in the House" is a complilation of her writings from forty years, some of which has not been published before.
David's writing style is recognizably British, opinionated, chatty, not excessively organized, and a bit "fussy", for want of a better term. This only added to the pleasure of reading her, for this reviewer; although a person used to the standard American format for providing recipes, with the ingredients listed in the order of combination, and step by step instruction, will not find that in David.
Elizabeth David was a national treasure for England, and her lifelong passion for "cookery" earns her a place on the bookshelf of many American kitchens as well.

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