Cover image for Is there a nutmeg in the house?
Is there a nutmeg in the house?
David, Elizabeth, 1913-1992.
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2001.

Physical Description:
xv, 318 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Consists of previously unpublished material and published articles.

Continues: An omelette and a glass of wine.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX652.9 .D378 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Along with M.F.K. Fisher and Julia Child, Elizabeth David changed the way we think about and prepare food. Her nine books, written with impeccable wit and considerable brilliance, helped educate the taste (and taste buds) of the postwar generation. Insisting on authentic recipes and fresh ingredients, she taught that food need not be complicated to be delicious.Elizabeth David, who died in 1992, was a very private person who seldom gave interviews. However, a 1984 collection of her journalism entitled An Omelet and a Glass of Wine greatly revealed David to her readers and is now considered the best food book written in the twentieth century. Now, nearly twenty years later, Viking will publish the sequel to that landmark book. Is There a Nutmeg in the House? contains material that has never appeared in previous collections. The emphasis throughout is on the practical aspects of cooking and eating and the book includes 150 recipes. These may come from around the world -- Mediterranean tomato consomme or classic English raspberry cream -- but they all have Elizabeth David's unmistakable touch. Delightful essays on her various likes and dislikes -- from the wonders of nutmeg to the utterly useless garlic press -- complete a unique picture of what for so long made David the most influential writer on food in the English language.Both immensely readable and wonderfully instructive, Is There a Nutmeg in the House? is a must-have for David fans and food lovers everywhere.

Author Notes

Elizabeth David (1913-1992) published eight books during her lifetime, from the evocative Book of Mediterranean Food in ration-bound 1950 to the masterly English Bread and Yeast Cookery in 1977. Her books are acclaimed not only for their recipes but also for their literary depth. French Provincial Cooking and Italian Food were reissued as Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics in 1999.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

An Englishwoman who traipsed through Africa and the Mediterranean countries in the early 1940s, David (1913-1992) opened up a world of flavors and techniques that must have seemed seductively exotic to a postwar Great Britain still struggling with food rationing. She was perhaps best known for French Provincial Cooking, but was also the author of food essays in such publications as Vogue, the London Sunday Times and Gourmet, some of which were eventually published in the highly regarded collection An Omelette and a Glass of Wine. This volume is a compilation of essays and recipes that didn't make it into the first, chosen by editor and longtime associate Jill Norman. The title essay succinctly sums up David's demand for cultural and gastronomic accuracy in cooking, as well as shows off her exacting writing. In it she bemoans the passing of the 18th-century tradition of carrying one's own nutmeg box and grater. She asserts that in fine London restaurants, she must ask for nutmeg to grate on her pasta and spinach dishes, a spice she considers as integral to Italian cooking as "Parmesan cheese and oregano and for that matter salt." A labor of love, the result is yet another evocative and entertaining exploration of cooking and the time, place and personalities that shaped it. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

David was one of the preeminent voices in 20th-century food writing. Her recipes read like narratives that recited more the spirit than the letter of the law, and she addressed her subject with opinionated wit. She was certainly prolific, but given her authority, it is difficult to imagine that there have remained works of hers unpublished. Yet there have. A sequel to her 1984 An Omelet and a Glass of Wine, this collection of essays and more than 150 recipes, compiled by David's long-time associate Jill Norman, brings some new work to light. There are 12 sections, from "Stocks and Soups" to "Ice Creams and Sorbets." Within each, topics run the gamut: making stocks, leaf salads, poached eggs and crme brle and treatises on the dream kitchen, perfumed toothpicks, and why garlic presses are "utterly useless." Certain English references might momentarily give some U.S. readers pause, but that's nothing compared with the bounty of great culinary and social and cultural material in this book. Anyway, no cookbook collection is grand enough to pass up a volume by David. Highly recommended. Wendy Miller, Lexington P.L., KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.