Elizabeth Craig – The Other Cottage
Elizabeth Josephine Craig, MBE, FRSA (16 February 1883 – 7 June 1980) was a Scottish journalist, home economist and one of the most notable British writers on cookery of the twentieth century, whose career lasted some sixty years.
Elizabeth Craig was born in Linlithgowshire and was one of eight children. Her father was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland.(1) She married American war correspondent and broadcaster Arthur Mann of Washington, D.C. (2)
Craig’s writing career began in Dundee where she studied journalism. (3) She first published a cookery feature in the Daily Express in 1920, following comments from the Daily Mail’s then film editor who declared she was “the only woman in Fleet Street who could cook”.(4) Craig was a founding member of the International P.E.N., and at the request of the founder, Catharine Dawson Scott, attended the first meeting of the association at the Florence Restaurant in London where John Galsworthy was elected its first president. (5)
Craig started to cook when she was six years old and began collecting recipes from age 12. (6) She began publishing cookery books after the end of World War I and proceeded through World War II and into the 1980s. She began writing in times when food was scarce and rationing was heavily relied upon, and her career ended when the majority of households had a refrigerator and an opportunity to access a much wider variety of foods: this can be observed in her writing as more diverse dishes appear in her later books.
Her contribution to English culinary literature comprises a very large corpus of traditional British recipes, although not only this: included are also a considerable collection of recipes from other countries which she liked to collect during visits abroad. (8)
A full list of the books written by Elizabeth Craig can be found on Wikipedia.
(1) BBC Archives – Elizabeth Craig’s appearance on Parkinson
(2) The Times, “Forthcoming Marriages”, 11 August 1919.
(3) The Times, “The Times Diary – Campari and pie with the chaps”, 14 February 1973.
(4) Eastern Evening News, “Kathleen Burke’s View – Elizabeth Craig’s new book”, 5 June 1968
(5) Obituary for Elizabeth Craig, The Times, 25 June 1980
(6) As note 2, above
(8) Craig, Elizabeth Cooking with Elizabeth Craig, ed. 1949. London: Collins; p.3