A Must Have Cookbook

101 Classic Cookbooks

Talk about a walk down memory lane! This book, published by the Fales Library, New York University, and Rizzoli features 101 cookbooks that are presented as the top cookbooks of the 20th century, and 101 recipes of what are considered to be the top recipes from these cookbooks.

This is a book that demands to be read word by word from cover to cover. The photos, stories, and descriptions of the cookbook authors are fascinating and offer an unprecedented overview of the evolution of food in this country. Here are the authors, living and dead, who make up my world--ones I had hoped someday to meet, ones I had admired, and ones I had wanted to emulate.

I went to the book launch party this past Wednesday where seven appetizers from authors represented in the book were served. My favorite was James Beard's oyster stew from his American Cookery, 1972. It was the pure essence of oyster, simply containing butter, heavy cream, milk, oysters, their liquor, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

It wasn't until another of the authors asked me to sign the page where my book was pictured that I realized that my first book, The Cake Bible, had been chosen as one of the 101 books! I couldn't be more honored. Or so I thought until I turned the book over and found my name, listed in the "Among the Authors Featured," sandwiched between my old friend James Beard, and my much esteemed colleague Mark Bittman. (Ok it was alphabetical, but just the same, I was happy to be there.)