There is a wonderful edition of Elizabeth David’s “Italian Food” that was published in 1987. I say wonderful, as it truly is full of wonders, quite apart from the delight of her writing and recipes. This book is a beautifully produced, hard backed volume that is illustrated with hundreds of exquisitely printed reproductions of paintings, with food as their subject, throughout the ages. Roman mosaics, Veronese still lives, Caravaggio’s people , Dutch masters, 15th century frescos, 20th century stylised compositions, like Guttusi’s “Two Eggs and classical packaging illustrations. I have browsed through the riches in this book so often and only today did I realise that I have never looked at one of the recipes, of which it is full. When I now look, I realise that I am familiar with most of them as they have all appeared in other editions of “Italian Cooking”.
I am looking at a painting by Joachim Beuckelaer of a kitchen interior. painted in the 16th century that fills me with enthusiasm for cooking and ingredients, but that which is inspiring is that Joachim was feeling the same in 1550. This made me look back to our summer stay in Ile d’Oleron where I found these pictures that I took whilst cooking some deliciously sweet langoustines that had only just left the sea.