King of the Cookbooks, Escoffier
As the flyleaf reads, “This is a cook book for connoisseurs, gourmets and those who appreciate excellence in food preparation.”
Within the 923 pages, there are 2,984 recipes for every type of dish you can imagine — and even some you can’t. I suppose if you had one cookbook you could choose to take with you on your journey through life, you might very well consider hauling along The Escoffier Cook Book – regarded as “The Bible of Culinary Art.” (First published in 1903 in France).
This beautiful cook book, pictured at right, was reprinted in 1978, at a time when the Disco inferno and The Love Generation were winding down in America. But somewhere – somewhere else, away from the mirrored balls and the BeeGees, there were cooks of a certain caliber holding onto the past. They were more interested in Chantilly Cream than the band, Cream – more entranced with the best of the cast iron skillets than with the best of the Iron Butterfly. (At that point in my life, I was certainly a member of the TV dinner club. I would have thought a Jeanette Supreme of Chicken a fancy name for a double-sized portion of Swanson’s chicken pot pie).
It is to be noted that while a whole new generation today may not now recognize Cream, the musicians, or Iron Butterfly, of ”Innagaddadavida” fame, quite likely a lot of them have heard of Escoffier, his artful cook book, and the magical recipes inside. The dishes endure.
Care for a little Agnes Sorel Veloute, anyone?