Quotes from The Virago Book of Food: The Joy of Eating
1917 - 99
The Four Seasons (1970) encouraged seasonal and unpretentious cooking. Its author, Costa, was the cookery writer for the Sunday Times magazine; she also contributed the column 'London at Table' to Gourmet. With her third husband, she ran a restaurant, Lacy's; when it failed, the couple lost their money and were thought at one point to have been living in their car.
The age of French colonialism is over, but French food, the gentle omelette above all, still conquers the world. There is no civilized country where one cannot find an omelette, the simplest and best of all French dishes.
More than any other uncomplicated and economical dish, the omelette has a prestige all its own. Remember Hélène, Gertrude Stein's cook, who disliked Matisse? When Miss Stein told her that he was staying for dinner she would reply: 'In that case I will not make an omelette but fry the eggs. It takes the same number of eggs and the same amount of butter, but it shows less respect and he will understand.'
There are many legends about the origins of the omelette and many myths about how it should be made. Strange secrets are ascribed to La Mère Poulard of Mont St Michel. But all she said herself was 'Je casse de bons oeufs dans une terrine, je les bats bien, je mets un bon morceau de beurre dans la poële, j'y jette les oeufs et je remue constamment.'
Margaret Costa's Four Seasons Cookery Book
Still Life Bouquet of Dahlias and White Book by Henri Matisse