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Christopher KimballThirty years ago, I met Elizabeth David for about two minutes at a cocktail party given by Jim Beard at his townhouse on West 12th Street. She immediately struck me as a "woman of substance," someone who marched to a different drummer. The preface to this work confirms that impression, as she lived by a book inscription written by Norman Douglas, which said, in part, "Always do as you please, and send everybody to hell . . ." Good for you, Elizabeth, and this book certainly gives one the impression that she cared not a whit for food fashion but was timeless in her appetites, from Fresh Green Pea Soup to Chicken with Tarragon to simple Baked Eggs. She even puts a nice yellow cream sauce over a piece of fish, something I haven't seen since Le Cirque or La Grenouille during the heyday of French cooking in New York, almost a half century ago. But who wouldn't want to dine on a Rack of Lamb with White Beans or a very English Summer Pudding? (I had one of these during a recent London trip, and it made me realize that Americans know almost nothing about the ethereal possibilities of this simple dish.) This book makes me long for Europe as it used to be, when James Bond first encountered Goldfinger, when the Kennedys were seducing the world, and when a simple roast chicken and a plate of white asparagus were things of great gastronomic beauty. Yes—let's just send everyone to hell and be damned!
— Founder and Editor, America's Test Kitchen