Cookbook Keepers: Page 4

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.

Rich Terapak
Restaurant Reviewer, WOSU,
The Ohio State University
Panelist: Cookbook-Keepers Seminars
Columbus, Ohio

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
Ballantine Books
c 1985

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.

Craig Claiborne in his test kitchen.
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 fame spread.

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.

Marlene Mulford
Mall Marketing Director (1980 - 1987)
Staff, Diocese pf Springfield, Ill.
Springfield, Ill.

Her Fave Keeper:
The Pride of Peoria
Recipes & Reminiscences (Ring-Bound)
Junior League of Peoria
Multi-Ad Services, Publisher
c 1982

If it plays well in Peoria, it'll play elsewhere. This is one of those kitchen heavyweights, 448 pages with recipes from soup-to-nuts as they say in Peoria. If the Junior Leaguers had posted a playbill 30 years ago of attractions, they would had listed appetizers, relishes, soups, breads, meats, poultry and seafood.

Keeper and grandmother Mulford has more than 150 cookbooks stashed from kitchen to a hallway shelf and for an evening's pleasant reading, the bedroom. As for her top choice, she says "I'm a good cook...I've used recipes (in this volume) in every category...they're so good." Her well-thumbed copy was purchased in 1989 for $10.

Her fave: "My favorite recipe from The Pride of Peoria cookbook is Ham and Swiss Frittata. This has become a Christmas morning breakfast favorite of the Mulford family. The frittata is a flavorful blend of ham, Swiss cheese and fresh eggs with hints of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. It's baked in my much-loved, well-seasoned cast iron skillet and served with a warm, fresh, streusel layered coffee cake that is also found in the cookbook. Sometimes I use variations of ingredients for the frittata such as Canadian bacon and sharp cheddar cheese."

A working grandmother's second Keeper:
Cookery for Entertaining
Subtitle: Your Parties Can be Easy With These Tested Make-Ahead Recipes. Creative Menus for Every Occasion From...for Imaginative Garnishes & Centerpieces.
By Marlene Sorosky
Published by HP books 1987

A Keeper's memory: "This cookbook was from my mother's collection. It's a wonderful resource for themed parties such as Mexican or Hawaiian. The book offers step-by-step how too's such as carving a water melon whole. It also features a 'make ahead' schedule from a couple of weeks untill the day of your party My favorite recipe is a Mexican sombrero salad. This is a fruit salad layered on a real Mexican sombrero with pineapple leaves attached at the top of the hat. It makes a spectacular presentation for dinner guests."

Keeper Janet VanArsdale
Teacher, Home Economics
An Authority on Rare Cookbooks
Columbus, Ohio

Janet VanArsdale has a cookbook hidden
in stuffed recipe folders

Lesson Learned: How appropriate for our red meat and potatoes culture... a home economics teacher who believes meat should be a condiment. Her story...

Keeper VanArsdale is not only a collector of cookbooks, but and avid user of both old world and Internet recipe sources. There's a sad note about her now small stash of cookbooks. She once had her mother's collection. Most of those were lost in a move from one home to another. Her collection now totals around 35-plus.

"I like food and I like to cook...sometimes I grieve over those lost books," she says. Then, as if in deep thought about past favorites, named the Betty Crocker recipes. But, then as if rolling over in her home ec mind, the professional one, mind, she mentioned a classic...

Her Fave
The Settlement Cook Book 1903
The Way to a Man's Heart (*)
Compiled by Mrs. Simon Kander
Facsimile Edition (AbeBooks.com)
(*) The Settlement Cook Book has had 34 subsequent editions. More than two million copies are floating around, possibly on dusty shelves, in old trunks in attics and moldy basements. Bet your boutonniere they are valuable possessions if one shows up other than in some rare books collection.

Lizzie Black Kander (1858-1940) founded a settlement house in Milwaukee. That was in 1896 and her mission was to educate young immigrant Jewish girls to assimilate into America's then way of life. Food and cooking being a major part of such communal life, recipes were of great importance. She would chalk them on a blackboard, the girls would copy. She decided to print her selections. The first ink-on-paper edition had 174 pages. A printer friend named that first edition: The Way To A Man's Heart, The Settlement Cook Book. Since then, there have been 34 editions. That was in 1901, the press run of 1,000 took a year to sell out.

Announced intent was to help foreign girls to become "good Americans." Credit that to Wikipedia.

At the time Kander's stack of notes with well-researched and tested recipes was the largest collection of ethnic Jewish and German recipes ever published. Be advised, finding a copy of any one of the 34 editions means you have a Keeper, a valuable one.

VanArsdale does not own a settlement cook book. But, she does have loaded folders with her fave recipes and notes from her teaching. A friend has suggested she keyboard a book, a cookbook, with recipes using beef, smoked ham and bacon as condiments. The working title: Say Goodbye to the 27-ounce Steak; This Book Not Available in Texas.

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