Here are a few “rare” tomes to look for the next time you are trolling the local flea market, or an out of the way bookstore. Dark & musty smelling stores always a plus! Even if you have allergies like me! You can always spray the book with febreeze & Ziploc it for a few weeks. Though, I never actually buy any book that needs quite that much TLC.
So my favourites! Good Luck in your hunt. These are precious reads to be sure. Just a reminder, these are NOT glossy, impractical albeit beautiful coffee table books. This is how the love of food got started. Through a recipe, an idea, actual prose, not an air brushed photo.
1) Le Repertoire de La Cuisine by Louis Saulnier, look for a copy from the 70’s w/ an intro by Jacques Pepin. Mine is from 1957.
2) A Selection of Dishes & The Chef’s Reminder by Charles Fellows. First edition, 1904 mine from 1909! Also, a real rarity: The Culinary Handbook, same author. Good Luck! Took me years, finally unearthed a copy at The Bookstore on Well fleet Harbour. .50 cents.
3) Lady Sarah Lindsey’s Choice Recipes ~ 1883 ( family heirloom) In pristine condition!
4) Esquires : Handbook for Hosts ( sub titled: the worlds best chefs wear pants!) 1949 ~ how sexist was that!
5) The Store Cookbook by Bert Greene & Dennis Vaughan ~1974 ~ The first ever gourmet food store in the Hampton’s. It was called The Store in Amagansett. I was lucky enough to meet Bert Greene , thanks to Julia Child in San Francisco, on a hiatus from Aspen, where we shared maybe one to many bottles of wine and foodie war stories. He was a big bear of a love. When I moved back east , he invited me to lunch at his townhouse in NYC. What an amazing personality! Always urging me on to get out of my food “comfort” zone. I think he would be proud of what I have become & achieved in those years since. He died to young in 1988 at the tender age of 65.
6) Trader Vic’s ~ Book of Food & Drink 1946.
7) Aromas & Flavours of Past & Present by Alice B. Toklas 1959.
8 ) Illustrated History of French Cuisine by Christian Guy 1962.
9) The Cordon Bleu Cookbook by Dione Lucas 1947.
10) Artistry in Cold Food By The General Electric Co. 1954 ( aka how to use your new refrigerator!)
11) Elsie De Wolfe’s Recipes for Successful Dining 1947 ( and it’s signed!).
12) Culinary Capers from the Evanston, Ill Infant Welfare Society 1934.
13) Kitchen tested Recipes from your new Sunbeam Mixer~ 1933. Todays version of the kitchen aid.
14) Frigidaire Recipes ~ 1923! This book is gorgeous w/ its watercolors for its time.
15) New Delineator Recipes ~ 1929. This was my grandmother’s,every “new ‘ bride was given a copy of this! Mine still remarkably spry after all these years. The chapters on how to look good for your husband and keep house are simply priceless.
16) Cake Secrets ~ 1928. You mixed w/ a fork! On a plate! Stoked a wood stove! Got the eggs from your back yard chickens,if you were lucky enough to have them! It was published by Swan’s Down Flour’s!
17) Julia Childs special appearance in Westport, Ct ~ Julia presents her favourite French Chef Recipes ~ 1973.
18) Clementine in the Kitchen by Phineas Beck 1943.
19) Adventures in Good Cooking by Duncan Hines 1939.
20) The Complete Cookbook for Entertaining by Jim Beard ( I believe this is the one and only book he ever wrote that he called himself Jim in and only had one printing) . Mine is pristine and a fun read.
I have at least 200 more but these are my all time # ones. I have every book. Sitting right next to me as I type, and will take pictures to share! Only 1 or 2 in poor condition, the rest lovingly maintained by me, over the years. So get out there and on your next adventure where ever it takes you, stop by the local flea market, obscure bookstore, hell even a “tag sale”. Who knows what amazing treasures you will find.
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