One of the illustrations by David Gentleman for Plats du Jour
Plats du Jour was one of Jane Grigson’s favourite books: if ever she saw one in a jumble sale she bought it to give as a present. For, as the well-known food historian, Alan Davidson, wrote, ‘it is a very good book indeed. Its principal ingredients, the knowledge and amiable enthusiasm of the authors, have given it a lasting value.’ And he pointed out that it is a very original cookery book, written in unpretentious language, in an unprescriptive, relaxed way by two cooks with whom it is easy to identify.
David Gentleman believes that ‘Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd’s admirable and practical Plats du Jour [is] every bit as good as Elizabeth David’. In fact, in terms of sales and influence it was Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd who were the pioneers in introducing English cooks to French everyday cookery. Plats du Jour sold 50,000 copies in the first few months after publication and 100,000 in the next three years, an astonishing amount at the time. It was only in the 1960s that Elizabeth David started to become a symbol of the transformation of English middle-class eating habits. Before that Plats du Jour was the favourite and influential French cookery book. Recently Nigella Lawson wrote: 'Love this book - one of my late mother's favourites.'
Endpaper for Plats du Jour by David Gentleman