Today, a household word for millions.
Both parents' families had considerable fortunes, the Gwynnes from engineering and land speculation and the Ridleys from coal mining. Forgotten were the Sorbonne professors.
What had stuck was the taste for a kind of food quite ideally unlike anything I had known before. Fagan 's company at the Oxford Playhouse in Her fellow performers included Joan Hicksonwho decades later recalled having to show her new colleague how to make a cup of tea, so unaware of the kitchen was David in those days.
His being married did not daunt either of them, and they began an affair that outlasted her stage career. He was working class, left wing, Jewish, an actor, a pickpocket, a vagabond, who lived in caves in Hastings for a time.
Her mother called him a 'pacifist worm'. He was a sexual presence, and slept with anything that moved. Although she could produce elaborate grand dinners when required, the most important lesson she taught David was to work day in, day out, with all available ingredients, showing her how to make an old bird or a stringy piece of meat into a good dish.
Later in the year she took a post as a junior assistant at the fashion house of Worthwhere elegant young women from upper-class backgrounds were sought after as recruits.
After stopping briefly at Marseille they sailed on to Antibeswhere they remained for more than six months, unable to gain permission to leave. They had reached the Strait of Messina when Italy entered the war on 10 June.
After 19 days in custody in various parts of Italy, they were allowed to cross the border into Yugoslaviawhich at that point remained neutral and non-combatant. Cowan found a job teaching English on the island of Syroswhere David learnt to cook with the fresh ingredients available locally.
When the Germans invaded Greece in Aprilthe couple managed to leave on a civilian convoy to Egypt. She spent some weeks in hospital and felt obliged to give up her job in the cipher office. The library was open to everyone and was much in demand by journalists and other writers.
Suleiman performed minor miracles with two Primus stoves and an oven which was little more than a tin box perched on top of them. For three or four years I lived mainly on rather rough but highly flavoured colourful shining vegetable dishes, lentil or fresh tomato soups, delicious spiced pilaffs, lamb kebabs grilled over charcoal, salads with cool mint-flavoured yoghurt dressings, the Egyptian fellahin dish of black beans with olive oil and lemon and hard-boiled eggs—these things were not only attractive but also cheap.
She enjoyed them for what they were, but only once fell in love. That was with a young officer, Peter Laing, but the relationship came to an end when he was seriously wounded and returned to his native Canada.
By now aged thirty, she weighed the advantages and disadvantages of remaining unmarried until such time as the ideal husband might appear, and with considerable misgivings she finally accepted Tony David's proposal of marriage.
His wife followed him there in Januarybut she found life as the wife of an officer of the British Raj tedious, the social life dull, and the food generally "frustrating". Instead, she was advised to go back to England. She did so; Cooper observes, "She had been away from England for six years, and in that time she, and England, had changed beyond recognition.
I need not go on. The couple went to Ross-on-Wye in November for a week's break, but were stranded in the town by the season's inclement weather. Frustrated by the poor food provided by the hotel, she was encouraged by Lassalle to put her thoughts on paper.
I sat down and started to work out an agonized craving for the sun and a furious revolt against that terrible cheerless, heartless food by writing down descriptions of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Even to write words like apricot, olives and butter, rice and lemons, oil and almonds, produced assuagement.
Later I came to realize that in the England ofthose were dirty words I was putting down. A blue memorial plaque commemorates her. When her husband returned from India inDavid immediately separated from Lassalle and resumed the role of wife. With the aid of Stella Gwynne, David and her husband bought a house in Chelseawhich remained her home for the rest of her life.
She offered David a contract, and David's work began appearing in the publication from March Even before all the articles had been published, she had assembled them into a typescript volume called A Book of Mediterranean Food ; many of the recipes ignored the restrictions of rationing in favour of authenticity, and in several cases the ingredients were not available in British shops.
David submitted her manuscript to a series of publishers, all of whom turned it down.Last year, I got hooked on listening to audiobooks during my commute. So, I've been trolling Amazon for "reading" material ever since. I had remembered seeing the trailer for One Day when it came out a few years back as a movie starring Anne Hathaway.
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