Friday, December 1, 2017

There are few better Christmas gifts than a vintage cookbook! Get one while they last (autographed Julia Child, anyone?)


Beard, James and Aaron, Sam, How the Eat Better for Less Money (Simon & Schuster, 1954, 2nd rev. ed, 2nd printing, 1970). ISBN 671-20482-3. A reissue, with much new and updated information, still relevant today. Beard shows how we don’t have to live off a microwave and stuff that comes in a box from the freezer. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket with some wear about the edges. HBB price: $20.

Beard, James, Theory and Practice of Good Cooking (Wings Books, 1st ed, 1977, 7th printing, c. 1990). James Beard’s conversational style makes it easy to imagine cooking above one’s standard without trauma or fire extinguisher. This reprint has no particular collecting value, but Beard is such a national treasure any edition of his books is worth having on one’s working kitchen bookshelf. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, good condition. HBB price: $20.

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Beard, James, James Beard’s American Cookery (Little Brown, 1972). LOC 70-165755. A summation of seven decades of cooking knowledge, this 877-page volume is predates the modern trend for luxuriously photographed celebrity food porn. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, a little frayed about the edges. Good condition. HBB price: $20.

“Some women, it is said, like to cook. This book is not for them”-

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Long before Martha Stewart and Ina Garten launched their reign of terror on America, Peg Bracken said to hell with being the perfect home-maker.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Bracken's writing reassured women that they did not have to be perfect to have a happy, well-managed home. Her best-known book is The I Hate to Cook Book, written in 1960. The book came about when she and some other working-women friends "pooled their ignorance" and came up with a core of recipes strong on ease of preparation.

It was followed by The I Hate to Housekeep Book and The Appendix to the I Hate to Cook Book. The two cookbooks were later published together as The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book. All are illustrated with amusing line drawings by Hilary Knight (best known for illustrating Eloise by Kay Thompson).

The recipes are distinguished by unusual names and peppered with sardonic comments. For example, one recipe is for "Wolfe Eggs," which are for eggs the way the fictional Nero Wolfe would cook them. "Stayabed Stew" could be left to cook by itself and was perfect "for those days when you are en negligee, en bed, with a murder story and a box of bonbons, or possibly a good case of flu"; mashed potatoes topped with cheese and baked in a casserole become "Spuds O'Grotten".

A chapter on vegetables and salads is subtitled "This Side of Beriberi"; her selection of simple family-oriented main dishes is "30 Day-by-Day Entrees, or, The Rock Pile".

The recipes themselves were written in much the same style ("Brown the garlic, onion, and crumbled beef in the oil. Add the flour, salt, paprika, and mushrooms, stir, and let it cook five minutes while you light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink").

Henry Bemis Books is pleased to offer Bracken’s second published work:

Peg Bracken, The I Hate to Cook Book: More Than 180 Quick and Easy Recipes (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1st ed., 1960). LOC #60-10919. Hardcover, 176 pp, unclipped dust jacket showing some wear about the edges. Illustrations by Hilary Knight. Inscribed, a bit half-heartedly, "To Mother- Merry Christmas and happy cooking- Sandy." HBB price: $25 obo.

Born in Idaho, Bracken (1918-2007), graduated from Antioch College in 1940, married, and moved to Portland, Oregon. There she worked in an ad agency with Homer Groening, father of Matt, creator of The Simpsons. The I Hate To Cook Book was a bestseller, and launched a number of other titles about various aspects of being a less-than-perfect wife and mother, as well as humorous occasional pieces for most of the leading magazines of the 1960s and ‘70s.  

Her New York Times obituary noted, ““The I Hate to Cook Book” was "the perfect accompaniment to the Rice-A-Roni era, ushered in two years earlier. The inventor of Rice-A-Roni, Vincent M. DeDomenico Sr., died on Thursday,” five days before Bracken.

She was married three times and was on the second when she wrote TIHTCB. ("When Ms. Bracken showed Mr. Lull the manuscript, he responded, “It stinks,” and that was more or less the beginning of the end, their daughter, Johanna, said by telephone yesterday”, The Times reported). As of Bracken’s death,  The I Hate to Cook Book was out of print, “doubtless a casualty of the Age of Arugula.” A fiftieth-anniversary edition was published in 2010.


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Bronte, Patricia, Vittles and Vice: An Extraordinary Guide to What’s Cooking on Chicago’s Near North Side, (Henry Regnery Co., 1st ed. 1st printing, 1952). A history-cum-cookbook from one of the Windy City’s hoppingest neighborhoods half a century back. FIne illustrations by Patrick McMahon. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition. HBB price: $15.

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Brown, Alton, I'm Just Here For The Food (Stewart Tabori & Chang, 1st ed., 1st printing, 2002). ISBN 1-58479-083-0. The irrepressible Food Network host’s first cookbook, “one for people who would rather understand their food than follow a recipe.” Ohhhh….kay. Hardcover, oversized, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition, autographed. HBB price: $35.

Child, Julia; Bertholle, Louisette; Beck, Simone; Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 2 (Alfred A. Knopf, 1st ed, 1st/2nd printings before publication, 3rd printing, December, 1970). First mention of “asbestos cement” at the bottom of page 71. LOC 61-12313. The sequel to the classic that catapulted Child to fame, covers seven subjects: soups; baking; meats; chickens: charcuterie; veg; and desserts. Hardcover, no dust jacket, good condition; a small divot out at the top of the spine. Title page and logo printed in blue.  7.25” x 10.25”. HBB price: $25.

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Child, Julia; Bertholle, Louisette; Beck, Simone; Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Vol.1); Child, Julia; and Beck, Simone, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Vol. 2). Knopf, 1961, 1970; first book club edition (title page and logo for Ecole Des 3 Gourmandes is in black, not red). No dust jacket. Very good condition. Inscribed by Julia Child and her husband, Paul Child, who illustrated both books. Envelope address tag for owner on front end page of each. HBB price: $500 the set.

Child, Julia, From Julia Child’s Kitchen (Knopf, 1975, stated 1st. ed., 1975). ISBN 0-394-48071-6. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket with some wear and tear to edges. Book condition very good. Signed by both Julia Child and her husband/illustrator, Paul Child without her trademark inscription, “Bon Appetit!” Envelope address tag for owner on front end page. HBB price: $300.

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Child, Julia, Julia Child & Company (Knopf, 1st ed, 1978). ISBN 0-394-73532-3. Paperback, 8.5” x. 11”. Julia Child is said to have commented she hated to see copies of her books without cooking stains on them. This one would make her happy; the covers indicate close proximity to the owner’s mise en place. The colorfully-illustrated text, however, is in very good shape. Inscribed by both Julia and Paul Child- without her signature “Bon Appetit!” on the title page. A number of recipes and articles are laid in. HBB price: $200.

Child, Julia, The Way to Cook (Alfred A. Knopf, 1st ed., 1st printing, 1989). ISBN 0-394-53264-3. An innovative cookbook organized around how to cook something basic (chicken, anyone? poach an egg?), with variations thereon. As entertaining as Julia can be in print. Illustrations everywhere. Hardcover; quarto, unclipped dust jacket, inscribed on the half-title page. Very good condition. 511 pp. HBB price: $195.


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David, Elizabeth, Classics: Mediterranean Food; French Summer Cooking; Summer Cooking (Biscuit Books, 1st ed., 1st 1st printing, 1998). Unjustly overlooked in the pantheon of international cooking writers, Elizabeth David (1913-1992) almost singlehandedly lifted British cooking from its dismal, insular ways from the late 1940s through the ‘80s (her book on bread is, alone, a masterpiece). This volume collects three of David’s early classics, written to counteract the gloom she felt after living in North Africa during the war. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition. HBB price: $40.

Faas, Patrick, Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome (Palgrave Macmillan, 1st ed., 1st printing, 2003). ISBN 0-312-23958-0. Fascinating account of how the Romans raised, prepared and ate their food. With 150 recovered recipes you can use to recreate the dinner table of Cicero. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition. 371 pp. HBB price: $50.

Gray, Rose and Rogers, Ruth, River Cafe Pocket Books: Salads & Vegetables; Pasta & Ravioli; Fish & Shellfish; Puddings, Cakes and Ice Creams (Ebury Books, 1st. ed., 1st printing, 2006). ISBN 00919437X. Fine set of four paperbacks (9’ x 5”), in a clear case, by the owners of London’s famed River Cafe in Hammersmith. Autographed by both authors Rogers and Gray (1939-2010) are famous for their interpretations of Italian cuisine and a generation of famous chefs they trained, including Jamie Oliver. Very good condition. HBB price: 39.95.

Paget, Russie H., The Clemson House Cookbook (Jacobs Brothers, 1st ed. 1955). Built in 1950 as a hotel and conference center, Clemson House’s cuisine inspired this 474 pp cookbook. Part I is of Heirloom Recipes from the South Carolina Upstate region; Part II is made up of Contemporary Recipes- Native and Foreign. Illustrations include a hungry tiger at the dinner table, leaning over his plate, knife and fork in paws; at the end, he’s leaning back, tum bulging, looking quite sated. A delightful regional work. Hardcover, no dustjacket, some staining and wear but overall in good condition. Rare. HBB price: $69.95.

Rinella, Stephen, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine, (Miramax Books, 1st ed., 1st printing, 2005). ISBN 1401135237-5. A bracing account of one man’s attempt to assemble all the ingredients required to produce the 45-course feast laid out in Escoffier’s 1903 book, Le Guide Culinaire). Praised as “part memoir, part cookbook, and a love song to hunting, fishing and the American wild. Hardcover, octavo, 319 pp. Fine condition. Rare. HBB price: $100.

Sanders, Zoe D., Entertaining at The College of Charleston (The College of Charleston Foundation, 1st ed., 1998). ISBN 0-9638620-1-4. A former president’s wife records, “through pictures, text, menus and recipes her gracious and elegant style of entertaining,” in pursuit of her goal that the College “live up to Charleston’s fine and rich culinary heritage of entertaining.” Lavishly illustrated. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition, autographed. HBB price $35.

Sedaris, Amy, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (Warner Books, 1st ed., 1st printing, 2006). ISBN 13: 978-0-446-57884-4. Helpful tips and recipes. Want to train nosy guests not to be? Fill your medicine cabinet with marbles. Hardcover, oversized, unclipped dust jacket, autographed. HBB price: $25.

Traunfeld, Jerry, The Herbfarm Cookbook (Scribner, 1st ed., 7th printing, 2000). ISBN 0-684-83976-8. A reservation for one of Traunfeld’s nine-course meals at The Herbfarm, east of Seattle, is a foodie’s bucket-lister. Trainfeld’s innovative use of herbs in everything he cooks is creative and its effects of dazzling. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition. Autographed opposite the title page. HBB price: $39.95.

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