Read Alice B. Toklas Cookbook by Alice B. Toklas Free Online
Book Title: Alice B. Toklas Cookbook|
The author of the book: Alice B. Toklas
Date of issue: August 28th 1986
ISBN 13: 9780060913274
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 37.40 MB
Edition: HarperCollins Publishers
Read full description of the books Alice B. Toklas Cookbook:3.5 stars
Yes this really is primarily a cookbook with some reminiscences thrown in. It was written after her partner, Gertrude Stein’s, death. Food was clearly very important in their lives and it is written with great passion. Contributory to that may be that Toklas had jaundice when she wrote it and was on a strict diet. Most of the recipes are French because that I where Toklas and Stein spent most of their time. But there are some thrown in from the US and a sprinkling from most other European countries and a few from further afield. Toklas collected recipes all her life and this was her passion.
The arrangement of the recipes is idiosyncratic to say the least, with the order being more of when they were tried and cooked as Toklas takes the reader through the years. There are lots of asides about the various people they knew and places they visited; bit of a restaurant tour of France in the first forty years of the twentieth century. The tone can be waspish and rather dismissive and French cuisine is always the benchmark;
“The French never add Tabasco, ketchup or Worcestershire sauce, nor do they eat any of the innumerable kinds of pickles, nor do they accompany a meat course with radishes, olives or salted nuts”
The recipes are often complex and time consuming requiring oceans of cream and acres of butter. There is a recipe for a leg of lamb which requires the cook to inject the meat with orange juice twice a day for a week whilst it is being marinaded. It seems that most things that moved were eaten. There is even a recipe for Larks which begins, “Place 2 dozen plucked larks in an oven with 6 rashers of Parma smoked ham …”! Of course, the most famous recipe in the book is in the chapter which is recipes contributed by friends; Hashish Fudge, with the recommendation that two pieces are enough and a batch will cause great hilarity at any party. Incidentally, the fudge (more accurately a brownie), has its own facebook page!
The chapter on servants illustrates why the cooking could be so extravagant, as for most of their time together Stein and Toklas employed a cook/housekeeper. There are interesting recollections throughout the book of their friends (famous and less famous). The chapter on the Nazi occupation is interesting. Being both Jewish and lesbian, Stein and Toklas cannot have been very comfortable in Nazi occupied France.
It is an interesting read; the range of recipes is broad. There are plenty of vegetable recipes and a wide range of puddings, some good wit and a fascinating account of Toklas’s life with Stein. It won’t be to everyone’s taste and for me parts of it grated (maintaining the culinary theme), but it’s great fun as well.
Read information about the authorAlice Babette Toklas was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century.
She was born into a middle-class Jewish family (her father had been a Polish army officer) and attended schools in both San Francisco and Seattle. For a short time she also studied music at the University of Washington.
She met Gertrude Stein in Paris on September 8, 1907, the day she arrived. Together they hosted a salon that attracted expatriate American writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, Paul Bowles, Thornton Wilder, and Sherwood Anderson, and avant-garde painters, including Picasso, Matisse, and Braque.
Acting as Stein's confidante, lover, cook, secretary, muse, editor, critic, and general organizer, Toklas remained a background figure, chiefly living in the shadow of Stein, until Stein published her memoirs in 1933 under the teasing title The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. It became Stein's bestselling book.
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