"Robust, wise, light but never flippant...unspeakably moving. You leave it with a strengthened sense of what families are: hostages to fortune, doorways to the worst grief and yet a rough, undesigned shelter from it. Few writers have so well described the solid nourishment of family life. She deserves a medal."
It was the Guild of Food Writers' Book of the Year in 1996.....
Her latest autobiographical offering 'My Life as A Wife - Love, Liquor and what to do about the Other Women' documents her marriage to the charismatic, charming Nicholas Luard who, when she first met him, was the proprietor of Private Eye. Unfortunately for Elisabeth, he was also a philanderer and eventually, an alcoholic.
Her autobiographical accounts amount to just a small part of her work - she writes regularly for several magazines including Waitrose Food Illustrated, and her food writing includes 'Classic French', 'Classic Spanish', the acclaimed 'European Peasant Cookery', 'Saffron and Sunshine' and 'Sacred Food'. She writes with wisdom, honesty, individuality and spirit, the theme of the family table pivotal in every publication. At the end of one of her introductions she admits to having discovered no panacea for the troubles which afflict humanity, unless it is that a meal shared round the kitchen table serves both as a celebration of the good times and a comfort in times of trouble. She quotes the words of a 'wise old clergyman' of her acquaintance "Take a short view of life. Look no further than dinner or tea." I would love to see 'Family Life' included in the Bounty Bag handed out in hospital to all new mothers! Compulsive (& compulsory) reading......s