Monday, October 12, 2009

Collecting Cook Books

With the success of Julie and Julia at the movies this summer, more people are aware of the amazing Julia Child. Some may have viewed her as a childhood memory because of her many years of cooking on TV. What many people don't know is that the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961 was a watershed event. Before 1961, relatively few cook books were published each year. After 1961, the number of titles of cook books exploded to the tens of thousands.
D. Appleton-Century published Elsie de Wolfe's Recipes for Successful Dining in 1934. When I looked at it, I was taken by the idea of a book by a prominent social figure in the midst of the Depression. I googled her social name, Lady Mendl, to get more information. The Wikipedia article article was not the first in the list of results. The first was a Tea Room in New York City. If I had been around in the 1930's, I would have recognized her as a celebrity. She was actually better known as an interior designer. Read and learn.
If you search for this book on-line, be aware that it was reprinted after World War II. The copy pictured is the first printing from 1934.

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