|Elizabeth David was one of three sisters in an upper-class English family. After a brief career on the stage, she sailed around the Mediterranean in 1939 with her first husband and lived abroad for seven years thereafter, chiefly in France, Greece, Italy, and Egypt, teaching herself to cook as she traveled. She returned to England (husbandless) after the war and began writing cookbooks based on her experiences. She also wrote newspaper columns and articles, and opened a shop in London that sold French kitchenware. David was an OBE and a CBE, and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Chevalier de L'Ordre du Merite Agricole, and the recipient of honorary doctorates from the Universities of Essex and Bristol. She was the author of nine cookbooks and one of the first cookbook writers to champion fresh food and natural ingredients, and to inspire respect for the regional cooking of Italy and France. A beautiful, relentlessly private woman who could be difficult to get along with, she once commented, "All there is to know about me is in my books."