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Good Old Food: A Taste from the Past Paperback – September, 1993

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This homey collection by well-known cookbook writer and publisher Chalmers pays tribute to traditional American cooks and immigrants who enriched American palates. Anyone looking for hearty fare will be pleased with the selection of over 300 down-home favorites (succotash, Boston brown bread) and ethnic choices (enchiladas verde, pierogi). Recipes are generally uncomplicated; few require ingredients that can't be found in any grocery store. Convenience and prepackaged ingredients are shunned for fresh. Reminiscences from people across the country of dishes served in their childhood homes give this volume a pleasantly nostalgic flavor. But the cookbook is not always well-organized. One cannot be sure whether to look for red flannel hash in the chapter entitled "One-Pot Dishes and Savory Pies" or in "Stews and Casseroles." And less cosmopolitan cooks may wish the national origins of the more exotic foods were included.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Prolific cookbook author Chalmers has collected a vast assortment of traditional recipes, from "all-American" favorites like Blueberry Pie to regional dishes like Gumbo and Crabcakes to ethnic specialties like Moussaka. Other cookbooks offer similar selections; what sets this one apart are the nostalgic reminiscences, from Chalmers and her friends, chefs and restaurateurs, and other food personalities, that accompany the recipes. For larger collections. JS
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Barrons Educational Series Inc (September 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812017250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812017250
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,570,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Irena Chalmers is recognized as the pioneer of the single subject cookbook. Her many engaging books have sold over 18 million copies and have won numerous awards; the most recent, the 2013 Gourmand Special Jury Award for Great Food Jobs 2: Ideas and Inspiration for Your Job Search. Her first volume, FOOD JOBS: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers, received the Gourmand World Cookbook Award - Best Book for Food Professionals in the U.S. and Best Book for Food Professionals in the World.

A James Beard Foundation "Who's Who" of Food and Beverage in America award recipient, Irena has delighted and captivated audiences and readers with her wit and commentary on the food world and its many trends. She is a past president and founding member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Les Dames d'Escoffier. Irena is a member of the faculty of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, a national food essayist and columnist for Chef magazine, and a culinary mentor to many.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
My sister and her husband gave me this book as a Christmas gift in 1993. Containing recipes representative of many ethnic groups, Good Old Food has become one of our family favorites. The recipes are delicious and easy to follow. Each recipe is accompanied by a short anecdote by the person who provided it, describing their memory of the food and why it has played an important role in their life. The color photos are excellent. My book is now tattered. I was delighted to find this year (1999) that Good Old Food is still in print, so I can replace my worn copy. My favorite recipe is for chicken pot pie, but everything I've tried has been very tasty - from baklava to stifado to goulash.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Gross on September 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
The recipes in this book are really great! Fairly easy to make and very easy to change just a tad to make more to your family's taste.

For years I have owned and used a hardcover copy of this book, copywright of 1988 and published by Barron's. I'm guessing I've had the book for about 18 years since it was one of the first 10 cookbooks I owned after college. None of my older cookbooks are in the poor condition this book is in. The binding is just separating at the seams at certain places in the book. Others are glued too high up the page and are causing the pages to tear at the binding when the book is laid flat.

Otherwise, the book is in beautiful condition! The color pictures look fabulous, the color and quality of the paper has held up beautifullly. The book wouldn't look 5 years old if only the pages were staying bound as they certainly still should be.

So, I write this review as I'm trying to locate another copy because having a book that is falling apart takes away much of the pleasure of reading the book.

The picture of the book above is different than my book, which is mostly red with a close-up photograph of vegetables, so I am hopeful that the newer edition will be better bound.

Otherwise, I highly recommend this cookbook.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shopper in Austin on September 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I bought this hardback book in the early 1990's. Recently out of college, I wanted to learn to cook authentic ethnic foods. I was at my local Book Stop book store (no longer in business) and literally looked thru all the cookbooks before buying this book. The reason I bought this book was because some of those photos looked like what my mother made and the general ingredients list looked like what my mother used. We were an immigrant family, so I can appreciate those recipes that were handed down thru the generations. My mother was a fantastic cook but she never measured anything, and teaching someone who couldn't grasp the concept of not measuring was simply, difficult.

The recipes in this book are not ones you can quickly do. However, once you learned them you can find shortcut ways of saving time. I usually use this book for weekend or special events cooking. Before I made even one recipe, I read all the comments and stories on the side of the pages from those who contributed the recipes. I totally enjoyed all the immigrant stories and felt like I was sitting at their dinner table. Irene Chalmers did a wonderful job of collecting the recipes, and presenting them along with the family stories.

How can you tell if a cookbook is any good? By the number of stains on the pages in the book! So you ask, "How do the recipes fare?" I reply, "Fantastic!" Growing up in a mom & pop restaurant, I have a right to be a critique. I haven't made anything in there that I didn't like. One of my favorite recipes in this book is Beouf En Daube. This recipe alone is to die for. This recipe is from Martine Toussaint of St. Louis Missouri (Thank you for your contribution, Martine!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dh4books on December 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Here are 250 recipes; American or 'traditional ethnic' -- not too far off the beaten path; things like moussaka, goulash, chile con carne, coq au vin, Boston baked beans, beef stew with dumplings, fried chicken, corned beef & cabbage. No frills, no hard-to-find ingredients, no nonsense about what county in Hungary you should buy your paprika from.

I've tried about 20 recipes from this book -- all have been successful & most added to the rotation/repertoire; usually I'm pleased/surprised to find more than a couple of recipes per cookbook that I like & here I've found ten times that & haven't tried all that I want to yet.

This is, without hesitation, the best 'everyday' cookbook I've ever used. (for fancier/not 'everyday' recipes I generally like Jacques Pepin & Jacques/Julia -- that's for a baseline...)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hello Kitty Ellen on April 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Each recipe comes with a story from the person who submitted it. It's a fun cookbook to just browse through and read! The recipes are old-fashioned recipes from different ethnic families. You'll probably come across some recipes your grandma used to make (I found spaetzle and German potato salad). Also includes nummy full-page, color photos of some of the dishes.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this hardback book in the early 1990's. Recently out of college, I wanted to learn to cook authentic ethnic foods. I was at my local Book Stop book store (no longer in business) and literally looked thru all the cookbooks before buying this book. The reason I bought this book was because some of those photos looked like what my mother made and the general ingredients list looked like what my mother used. We were an immigrant family, so I can appreciate those recipes that were handed down thru the generations. My mother was a fantastic cook but she never measured anything, and teaching someone who couldn't grasp the concept of not measuring was simply, difficult.

The recipes in this book are not ones you can quickly do. However, once you learned them you can find shortcut ways of saving time. I usually use this book for weekend or special events cooking. Before I made even one recipe, I read all the comments and stories on the side of the pages from those who contributed the recipes. I totally enjoyed all the immigrant stories and felt like I was sitting at their dinner table. Irene Chalmers did a wonderful job of collecting the recipes, and presenting them along with the family stories.

How can you tell if a cookbook is any good? By the number of stains on the pages in the book! So you ask, "How do the recipes fare?" I reply, "Fantastic!" Growing up in a mom & pop restaurant, I have a right to be a critique. I haven't made anything in there that I didn't like. One of my favorite recipes in this book is Beouf En Daube. This recipe alone is to die for. This recipe is from Martine Toussaint of St. Louis Missouri (Thank you for your contribution, Martine!
Read more ›
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