sensualist gourmands: nigel slater, sybille bedford, rowley leigh and elizabeth david

….for those of you who didn’t grow up in england, here are a few of team gloria’s most loved food writers that you might (or might not) have heard of:

1. Nigel Slater is a glorious sensualist (Nigel writes for The Guardian and its sister Sunday newspaper in England, The Observer)

here’s an example of his richly evocative prose:

Rhubarb, stewed with brown sugar, maple syrup or honey, is an uplifting start to the day. The clear, piercing juices glow in the breakfast bowl on a grey February morning. A winter wake-up call if ever there was one.

sexy, right? we think so.

2. Nigel’s book – Toast – was made into a most excellent programme on the BBC (the trailer is here)

3. Toast is also being screened at select places in the USA (if you’re in NYC, the tickets should go on sale soon for the Walter Reade Theatre at the Lincoln Center for next Saturday as part of the From Britain with Love series)

4. Sybille Bedford (whenever I talk about Sanary Sur Mer, it is in appreciation of Sybille) wrote exquisitely about food in all of her novels, but most particularly in her collection of journalism for Vogue, Esquire and Encounter magazine, Pleasures and Landscapes – here’s a taste:

A back room attached to a kitchen, bare communal tables, benches, cool scowls for welcome, crowded to overflowing, but no queue. No diamonds, no foreigners, no Giuliettas. The customers: Florentine aristocracy and workmen with a sprinkling of professional men. Good bread, olive oil, bowls of grated cheese, fresh-cut lemons…..

I wish I could have driven a little European car, with Sybille, between the wars and eaten at little places like this as we meandered our way to Portofinio…

5. Rowley Leigh is another fine chef and columnist – this link might not work because of the paywall thingy so just in case – here’s a tiny excerpt for your edification

A hundred years ago, the Sussex Pond pudding was considered a favourite with children. I am not so sure it would be today, although I urge you to give it a go and find out. There is something quite grown-up about the marmalade-like flavour of the pudding: there is the anticipated sourness from the juice with an additional bitter quality imparted by the lemon’s skin (choosing a thin-skinned lemon will help to reduce this if desired). These traits are in no small measure offset by the sugar, not to mention the considerable density of the suet crust, but those enjoying the pudding will benefit from a long walk while it steams happily on the back of the stove. The reward will not be just in an extremely indulgent pudding but in a taste of history, too.

Rowley Leigh is the chef at Le Café Anglais

6. And then the queen of them all – Elizabeth David – if you’re not already a devotee, we suggest starting with A Book of Mediterranean Food (we have a Penguin edition from 1955 which made its way to Park Avenue, NY from England and the former owner typed up a conversion table and sellotaped/scotch-taped it into the book – wonderful).


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