The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book

Book - 2010 | 1st Harper Perennial pbk..
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"A collection of traditional French recipes ... [and] memories of Paris ... and of rural France, Spain, and America"--Page 4 of cover.
Publisher: New York : Perennial ; Enfield : Publishers Group UK [distributor], 2010.
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial pbk..
ISBN: 9780061995361
Branch Call Number: 641.5 TOKLAS
Characteristics: xvii, 288 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Alice B. Toklas cookbook


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Dec 26, 2017

I have a soft spot for memoir published before I was born, written by women. So after reading Justin Spring's "The Gourmand's Way" I was smitten with Alice B. Toklas. I can see why. The voice in this cookbook is adorable and sweet, but not in your Hallmark movie grandma kind of way. More like someone who has had an amazing life, made richer by taking risks and creating her own opportunities, and being exactly who she is. And that isn't a nuclear engineer, but a woman who in this case cooks and eats, mostly in France, mostly with famous french types, right after the horrors of the war.

It's as if the war depleted everything of traditional French cuisine, and this book is a document of the rebuilding of that culture into something new but without the French really noticing. They have their rules and customs and the way things are done, but after the war, it seems as if progress couldn't help itself. The traditions don't fit anymore. These are the new traditions, although only an American in France could see this.

This version doesn't have the Alice B . Toklas brownies recipe, but nobody really cares about that anymore in California, in particular. That little nugget of history was quite well explained in historic detail in Justin Spring's beautifully-written book. Read that first, then read this. It's just precious.


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