Cookbook Keepers: Page 23

Cookbook buys seldom travel. Two fates await a cookbook.
It reposes on a collector's shelf, or it becomes part of an estate and handed down to next-of-kin.

Teaser: Origins, start-ups of cookbook collections, usually begin when mothers pass down their favorites to their children. Many estates passed to beneficiaries include collections...from one or two to dozens, even hundreds. Here's a one-in-a-million way to build a valued stash.

Gary James
Stained Glass Artist
Former Prep / Banquet Chef, Denver
Columbus, Ohio

gary james
Gary James
Photo / Kathleen Dlabick

The James collection had a unique start. His wife, Kathy Dlabick, was a combo photographer and graphic designer for The Coumbus Dispatch. A couple times a year the food editor disposed of her cookbook excess by laying them out for an employee auction, proceeds going to some favorite charity. Let it be known that food editors of major daily newspapers receive hundreds of hardback cookbooks, each seeking free ink review space. In the case of the Dispatch, Ohio's largest newspaper, the paper was home plate for Peter D. Franklin, syndicated cookbook reviewer for 30 years, more than 250 daily newspapers. Note: This website is the result of the Franklin cookbook collection. He donated 8,000-plus cookbooks to the Rare Books Department, The Ohio State University.

Wife Kathy Dlabick always shopped the in-house auction, paying a buck or three for each selection. A Gary James count for this Keeper posting: 87 shelved in the James home for quick access. Each was a gift to husband Gary where they are highly prized.

James is unique in that he uses almost all of them over the year in his daily cooking at home. He does all the meal preps. This James household goes for flavor varieties, those created by Bobby Flay. Comfort foods are in his past, but the refined sort as suggested in cooking shows presided over by Julia Child.

Gary James Off Maine Coast

Artist James was once Chef James. In his most interesting pre-wedlock career he was prep chef for a full service restaurant, The Padre, in a Denver Catholic church. The place was fully staffed with conventual managers and bar tenders for a seven-day operation. There, James explains, he learned volume cookery. James and wife are creatures of good taste and habit when it comes to summer vacations: Maine. Why so repetitious? "Nothing is more beautiful than the Maine coast...and the lobster doesn't hurt, either..."

Keeper James current favorite:
Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook
Explosive Flavors From the Southwestern Kitchen
by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson
Clarkson Potters Publisher
c 2007

Flay is a star for today's exploding interest in reading cookbooks...emphasis on reading. He, at recent count, owns six restaurants. Emphasis on owns. Flay is a TV product. In this case, he's partially named the cookbook after his first restaurant, Mesa Grill, circa 1991.

His old standby as No. 2:
Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One
by Julia Child
Alfred A. Knopf
c 2001

The 87-count stash of James family books also, for reasons of floor space, has to be a repository for his books on cats...the family kitty rules...

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