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
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.