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James Beard's Delights And Prejudices Hardcover – November 8, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

James Beard's 1964 classic, Delights and Prejudices, has been reprinted in a newly illustrated edition. This is wonderful news for all who love food and food writing. Erudite yet intimate, Delights and Prejudices is, first, the memoir-with-recipes of a great American gastronome. It's also fascinatingly panoramic on good meals taken worldwide; on ingredients as diverse as the potato and the truffle; on great food places, markets to restaurants; and on food people, from Beard's cantankerous, food-muse mother to many of the stars of the last century's food firmament, including Julia Child. This is not only Beard's greatest work but also one of the best books we have on food and what we know about it.

Beard's gastronomic life began in bounteous early-20th century Portland, Oregon, where his mother cooked for several hotels. An early culinary memory has the near-infant Beard relishing an onion, skin and all. From there the story captures a world of gastronomic likes and dislikes from "sensational" veal roasts to the gherkins known as cornichons, "one of the mistakes the French make in eating." Beard's love of French food is, however, usually unmitigated, matched only by his adoration of traditional, locally produced American cooking. Recipes for this fare, including clam soufflé and candied-ginger pumpkin pie, are among the 150 formulas offered, a Beardian crème de la crème that also encompasses hors d'oeuvres, breads, and cakes. The book also chronicles Beard's ascent to fame, beginning with his 1940s appearance on I Love to Eat, TV's first cooking show, to the arrival of his many influential cookbooks. It ends, characteristically, in his kitchen, "the place where [he] can best satisfy the eccentricities of [his] own palate." The journey makes am enthralling read. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author

James Beard had a national reputation as an authority on every phase of food. Consultant to a wine and spirits establishment, he wrote seventy-six other books and numerous articles for national magazines on widely varied phases of cooking. Mr. Beard, who knew the cooking of every corner of our country, cooked in nearly every language. He lived abroad, traveled throughout Europe a number of times, saw most of the Western Hemisphere, and visited Hawaii and North Africa. His familiarity with exotic foreign foods spiced his extensive knowledge of American cooking at its best.

Mr. Beard was adviser to several large food companies, was food editor of Argosy magazine, and made many appearances on radio and television. His first three books are Hors d'Oeuvres and Canapes, Cook It Outdoors, and Fowl and Game Cookery. Equally at home in the kitchen of his own New York apartment and that of a hotel, James Beard brought the same sure touch to a half-hour supper as he did to the most elaborate buffet. He died in 1985. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; First Printing edition (November 8, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076240941X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762409419
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Angela Abraham on July 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful look back by the author. He looks at his life in the Northwest and the foods that brought solace. How they were prepared and how the foods intertwined with daily life in the Beard household. Beard reveals his "delights and prejudices" for and against certain foods, methods Etc. This book made me think back to my childhood and the foods we would cook as the seasons came and went. Fresh game, fruits local to our area...I could almost smell the wild strawberries as Beard described them. I sure wish this book was back in print but try to find it if you can. It's a real gem!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is somewhat less entertaining than some more recent culinary memoirs, such as those written by Ruth Reichl, for example but, given the importance of it's subject, it is very rewarding for both it's historical and culinary contents.
Beard is the quintessential `old school' American culinary figure. You will find little or no preaching on local sources, simple preparations, fresh ingredients, or organically raised produce. These were simply not an issue for him in 1964. Recall that this was less than 4 years after the publication of Rachael Carson's `Silent Spring' and less than 2 years after the publication of Julia Child's `Mastering the Art of French Cooking'. Elizabeth David was probably unknown to most of Beard's audience and Chez Panisse was less than a glimmer in Alice Water's psyche.
I must say that having read a recent, well regarded biography of Beard, I suspect that Beard has done something of which Martha Stewart has been `accused'. That is, reinventing himself to the public by glossing over some of the less pleasant episodes in his childhood. And, at least two thirds of the book deal with his mother, her chefs at their Portland Oregan boarding house, and his early exposure to the foods of the American northwest.
This is much more of a memoir than it is a cookbook, but for what few recipes it contains, there is a much greater chance that these are from Beard's personal experience. As his autobiography documents, and as Jerimiah Tower, a Beard confidant confirms, this may be one of the few books James Beard wrote himself. He almost always had one or more assistants compiling material for his books.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By holly on March 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
I am now dumping all fact-crammed biographies in favor of autobiographical musings. Maybe I don't really cotton to jaw-dropping gossip and juicy personals as much as I used to. What I really wanted was to get to know James Beard and feel his spirit in the room with me, and I don't have to know about his lovers, his hissy fits or flaky friendships. The instant I opened up this book, his life story began to flower and hugely blossom, slowly and magically, in retro technicolor, as James Beard shared his memories, his childhood, his professional development and genius recipes with me. He took me with him to Gearhart, Oregon, to that brisk salty clime, on the old slow train along the Columbia River. This book takes you along as an honored guest. You get to sit right next to him as he serves you perfect tea and delicious goodies. He talks to you about the watermarks in his life, not stupid junk that might only embarrass me and him both. This is a carefully and discreetly written book. I love it for his insight into us humans and the reasons we enjoy food. The only thing wrong with it, is that it is only 337 pages long, and I know he could have remembered at least another two hundred pages of detailed stories to tell me that I would have loved to have heard. And of course, I am already working on executing some of his classic recipes from this book. Yes, it is first-person limited omniscient, and you better believe he assumed an omniscient tone! But the title states clearly: Delights AND Prejudices. It is a velvety, nostalgic read, emotionally evocative, Romantic. Hey, if I have a choice between a room lit with twenty candles or a blaring overhead fluorescent bulb that shows every crack in the wall, I am going to choose the room full of candles.Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 1998
Format: Hardcover
James Beard only offered hints and fragmented stories of his past over the years -- this is the closest thing he could humanly muster as an autobiography... and, of course, it's mostly about food. You forgive his inability to delve into self when you hear the wonderful tales he spins -- the book is loaded with gems. It serves as a fine historical piece, if anything, and, though vague on the man, is as accurate as anything Beard has produced.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary Feltman on October 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I say "food book" instead of "recipe book" because this work of art by this master craftsman is SOOO much more than just a recipe book! It is a "curl-up-in-your-favorite-chair-with-your-favorite-coffee/tea-and-be-taken-into-the-world-of-food love" book! Yes, you're going to find some amazing recipes in this book, but moreso, you'll get a glimpse into the life and mind of one of the greatest culinary geniuses of all time. James Beard was America's culinary hero as much as ANY other chef from any other country. He loved food and any "foodie" will love him, and his wit and (sometimes funny) BOLD opinions and suggestions about the foods he's writing about. It is my honor to own every one of his books, and this one is my favorite! I have read it, and re-read it, and have enjoyed it each time.

I highly recommend this book!
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