British food writer, Elizabeth David changed the outlook of home cooking in the 20th century with her first book, “Mediterranean Food” published in 1950. Her books have been compared to fiction works due to the in-depth discussion of food as elements of a dish rather than in recipe format – allowing the reader to have a deeper appreciation for the ingredients used.

After growing up in Sussex at the age of 26, David bought a boat and sailed the Mediterranean before marrying Lieutenant Colonel Tony David and fleeing to India. She returned to England in 1945 and was shocked by the obvious lack in fresh, sun-drenched ingredients that she had experienced abroad. Therefore came the idea to introduce Britain to these exotic products that have now become staple foods in our daily diets.

In the early 1950s, John Minton was one of Britain’s most popular artists – he is best remembered for his beautiful illustrations in David’s cookery books. John Lehmann, David’s publisher commissioned David to write the books and for Minton to illustrate. Her cookery books never contained any photographs of the dishes, only illustrations and her recipes brought colour and life to post-war rationing kitchens across Britain. David placed great importance in the illustrations of her books, she was less convinced by Minton’s black and white drawings, describing his mediterranean scene imagery as “stunning”.

There is an exhibition of John Minton’s work currently on display at Pallant House Gallery, marking the centenary of his birth – http://pallant.org.uk/exhibitions/current-exhibitions

Throughout August, three special Elizabeth David inspired dishes will feature on our a la carte menu, for each dish sold Pallant Restaurant will donate £1 to Pallant House Gallery in honour of the late Elizabeth David. 

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