About the book (from Wikipedia):
A Book of Mediterranean Food was an influential cookery book written by Elizabeth David in 1950, her first, and published by John Lehmann. After years of rationing and wartime austerity, the book brought light and colour back to English cooking, with simple fresh ingredients, from David’s experience of Mediterranean cooking while living in France, Italy and Greece. The book was illustrated by John Minton, and the chapters were introduced with quotations from famous writers.
At the time, many ingredients were scarcely obtainable, but the book was quickly recognised as serious, and within a few years it profoundly changed English cooking and eating habits.
The historian of food Panikos Panayi argues that with A Book of Mediterranean Food, David profoundly changed English cooking. He considers the opening section to contain “perhaps the most evocative and inspirational passage in the history of British cookery writing”:
“The cooking of the Mediterranean shores, endowed with all the natural resources, the colour and flavour of the South, is a blend of tradition and brilliant improvisation. The Latin genius flashes from the kitchen pans. It is honest cooking too; none of the sham Grand Cuisine of the International Palace Hotel.”
David then describes the region and its perfumes:
“From Gibraltar to the Bosphorous, down the Rhone Valley, through the great seaports of Marseilles, Barcelona, and Genoa … stretches the influence of Mediterranean cooking, conditioned naturally by variations in climate and soil and the relative industry or indolence of the inhabitants. The ever recurring themes in the food throughout these countries are the oil, the saffron, the garlic, the pungent local wines…”