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Specialites de la Maison Hardcover – March 30, 2010


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Specialites de la Maison + Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Design (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061968986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061968983
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A certain widely-travelled New Yorker, a gourmet who sometimes prepares his own dishes, was recently asked his opinion of Spécialités de la Maison, issued by the American Friends of France.

His reply: "I enjoyed it tremendously because it is a sort of travelogue of cuisine compounded by a number of gay and intelligent people who have made their mark in the world, and who evidently have a wholesome respect for the pleasures of the table. To me it is valuable for those dread moments when the stove looks cold and uncooperative, the muse of inspiration is mute, and the guests are determined to arrive at a quarter before eight."—from Spécialités de la Maison, 1949 edition

First published in 1940, Spécialités de la Maison presents a diverse collection of recipes by Hollywood and Broadway celebrities, renowned socialites, noteworthy writers, members of the royalty, famous couturiers, and restaurateurs. With original illustrations by Clement Hurd, Alajalov, and Jean Pagès, and a new foreword by Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, this charming facsimile edition is an enlightening and entertaining illustration of what the wealthy and famous cooked when eating en famille. The busy host or hostess will appreciate that the recipes are easy, short, no-fuss, and truly fun to make—not to mention tasty conversation starters.

Bon appétit!

About the Author

Christine Schwartz Hartley is a writer specializing in architecture and design and has translated numerous works from French to English, including Alain Mabanckou's cult novel, African Psycho. She has also reviewed books for Book Forum, the New York Times Book Review, and the Village Voice. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Paris fan on April 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a wonderful little book! From its checkered-tablecloth binding to its manageable size (not Bible size like many cookbooks nowadays) to the galaxy of personalities who contributed recipes--Mary Pickford, Helen Keller, Laurence Olivier, Salvador Dali and on and on!

Though we may no longer cook using as much butter or bacon grease as is reflected in some of the recipes, I'll still give many of these recipes a try. Who wouldn't want to serve Charlie Chaplin's "Sour Cream Hotcakes," or Cecil Beaton's "Tea Punch," or Mrs. Wendell Wilkie's "Indiana Fried Chicken!" The book first came out in 1940, fourteen years before THE ALICE B. TOKLAS COOKBOOK, but you somehow get the feeling that Alice (none of her recipes appear in this book) and all of the famous people represented here really enjoyed cooking, eating and entertaining!

The perfect gift for any foodie or foodie wannabee!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lyric VINE VOICE on June 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't cook but I really enjoyed this book. It's a window into the past because it is a collection of recipes from internationally famous people of the 1930's and 40's and earlier.
The recipes range from simple to exotic, the writing reflects a different time period in the way the recipe is explained, and the recipes reflect the manner in which people lived and ate. Sometimes the recipe and the person who provided it seem like an odd combination -- it's part of the fun of this book.

I bought a few copies to give to my friends who DO cook and each one has told me they've enjoyed the book and have made some of the recipes with plans to do more of them.

Nice that this bit of history was resurrected for all of us to enjoy today. Interesting too to realize that the original genesis of this book was to raise money to help France which was already embroiled in WWII when this book came out.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fun read, but if you were thinking of actually MAKING any of this, prepare to find another cookbook. As a bit of history and a name-dropper tome, this is it...just don't plan to wow your friends with any of these recipes. Unless, of course, your friends are really into items cooked in lard and containing a gazillion calories. As I was hoping to resurrect some old French-influenced recipes I was disappointed. You might not be. A chacun son gout!
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By Angela on November 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is such a treasure... if you are a foodie, this is a must have.
"There's also a select bibliography of contributors--from Katharine Hepburn and Christian Dior to Eleanor Roosevelt and Charlie Chaplin--created especially for today's reader."
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