Restaurant Reviewer, WOSU,
The Ohio State University
Panelist: Cookbook-Keepers Seminars
His Fave Keeper:
Cooking with Craig Claiborne
and Pierre Franey
More than 600 New Recipes
from The New York Times
by Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey
Many of the recipes first appeared in Franey's Times column,
a part of The New York Times. Reviews of Franey's recipes
early on were that most are not for the 30-minute home
cook. They were detailed, considered at the time to be aimed
toward a more accomplished home cook. However, they
were interesting reads.
Rich Terapak's immediate choice of a favorite cookbook,
in a measure, is a restaurant critic favoring one of the
nation's prestigious restaurant critics, Craig Claiborne.
Mississippi born, eventually using a GI Bill scholarship
earned for Navy service in both World War II and the
Korean War, he decided to augment his passion for
cooking by attending the École Hôtelière in Lausanne,
Switzerland. That springboard and his purist grammarian
style of writing led to exposure in Gourmet magazine.
Claiborne became food editor of The New York Times in 1957.
From that high journalist perch he became a cultural icon in
all facets of cuisine, nee food in history, production, cooking and
serving. The latter boosted Claiborne to as much fame and
acclaim as did his stream of cookbooks. Having the Times
for a launching pad spread his food fame. Cookbook buyers
are solitary. They buy the book. They read it. They etch pages
with inked notes. The turn down page corners. They shelve it
for posterity. Seldom do they loan it or give one away, With
Claiborne as restaurant critic on the national newspaper his
Craig Claiborne in his test kitchen.
Clairborne, very much a pioneer on the eat-for-pay circuit, did it
his way. He made reservations in his own name. He seldom if ever
dined alone. Legend has it that Claiborne, with his unlimited expense
account, could make dinner arrangements for as many as eight. His
dining parties often included his close friends, among them James
Beard and Pierre Franey, social icons themselves.
Critic Claiborne (1920-2000) won his silver fork among reviewing
peers west of the Hudson River when he entered a winning $300
bid in a charity auction for a no-price limit dinner for two. Choice
of the restaurant was his. Sponsored by American Express,
Claiborne and friend Pierre Franey opted to dine in a Michelin
three-star, Chez Denis, in Paris. Their tab for a five-hour, 31-course
dinner was $4,000. Amex gladly paid. They ordered, each course made
on order...foie gras, truffles, lobster, caviar, all with rare wines. He and
Franey paced themselves, ordered nearly every item on the menu.
The took only small bites of each one. It has to be noted that upon
return, the Times review was a mixed one. Claiborne wrote that several
dishes fell short of conception, presentation and quality, that report
from his Wikipedia bio. Reviewers and critics in that 1970s era were
jealous. Only the Vatican and Pope Paul VI were upset.