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Elisabeth Luard is a British food-writer, journalist and broadcaster specialising in the traditional cooking of Europe and Latin America (though she’ll take a swing round Africa and India if asked), placed in its social, geographical and historical context. The step-daughter of a British diplomat, her early schooling was in Uruguay, Spain, France and Mexico.

Mirroring her own childhood, she brought up her family of four children (with husband, writer and conservationist Nicholas Luard, founding-proprietor of satirical magazine Private Eye) in Andalusia, Languedoc and London. Later, with children grown, workplaces switched to the island of Mull in the Hebrides, Nicholas’s home territory, before, some 20 years ago, they moved to a remote farmhouse in the wilds of Wales. Widowed five years ago, Elisabeth continues to live and work in Wales.

As a journalist, she writes every month in the UK’s Country Living, and has a cookery-column in The Oldie - a tongue-in-cheek magazine edited by Richard Ingrams, founding editor of Private Eye - and for anyone else who offers employment. Among books-in-print (or available on the re-tread market) are European Peasant Cookery (US: The Old World Kitchen. 1985 and still in print), Festival Food (1988, reprinted 2009), The Food of Spain and Portugal (2004), Classic French (2006, includes her own illustrations) and Classic Spanish (2007, includes her own illustrations). The Latin American Kitchen (2003), Sacred Food (2001), Truffles (2006), Food Adventures (2006, a cookbook for children written with daughter-in-law, Frances Boswell, sometime food-editor at Martha Stewart Living).

Elisabeth LuardOther publications include autobiographies-with-recipes Family Life (1996), Still Life (1998) and My Life as a Wife (2008). As for the rest, well, she admits to a couple of doorstopper novels: Emerald (1993 - Thumping Good Read Award) and Marguerite (1995). To come: A Year in a Welsh Farmhouse Kitchen (Bloomsbury, scheduled spring 2011), The Oldie Cookbook (Oldie Publications, due Oct 2010, includes her own illustrations).

Elisabeth’s early career as a natural-history artist led to work as an illustrator, and while she no longer exhibits in London’s Tryon Gallery, she still takes travel-notes with watercolours and sketchbook. Her watercolour illustrations can currently be seen in Country Living. Sketches from her travel-notebooks are being used to illustrate her recipes in The Oldie Cookbook. As a proud granny of seven - two in New York and five in London -she visits regularly and cooks with her grandchildren whenever she can. website:

An illustration of lunch in Provence, France. Credit: Elisabeth Luard

Palm Sunday, the Sunday before the movable Christian feast of Easter that this year falls on April 13, marks the allotted date of Christ's

A woman feeding hens. Credit: Elisabeth Luard

Lent, which begins Ash Wednesday (March 5 this year), was the start in Britain of a short period of carnival preceding the 40 days

A French dinner party. Credit: Elisabeth Luard

The spirit of revolution is still alive in rural France and takes the form of the buffet dinatoire. This is a new-old way of

The three kings. Credit: Elisabeth Luard

For good fortune and happiness through the next 12 months, eat up your mince pies, one for every day of the 12 days of

The interior of the abbey. Illustration by Elisabeth Luard

My first serious cookbook, "European Peasant Cookery," published in the United Kingdom in 1984 and still in print with Grub Street, was published in

Carob beans on the leaves of a carob tree. Credit: Elisabeth Luard

This is a story of carobs and cocoa. At Dolceria Bonajuto in Modica, Italy, the longest-established chocolate factory in Sicily, they make chocolate bars

Cannoli. Credit: Elisabeth Luard

Certainly there will be other places where you can get the real thing, but for the authentic cannoli experience, head for the Pasticceria Gelateria

The amphitheater at Delphi. Credit: Elisabeth Luard

Traditions of the ancient Greeks continue to echo through modern life, including food customs such as trahana. This combination of a grain and protein