Monday, September 08, 2008

September 08, 2008

Well summer sure went way too quickly here!!! It feels well and truly like fall now. Brian and I went for a walk this afternoon and I noticed how the trees and bushes are starting to change. So with the change of the season I am going to change my blog this time, and blog about one of my cook books. Most foodies have heard of Auguste Escoffier. I had heard he had been the chef at some of London's finer restaurants.
Anyway this poor old foxed and tattered book I found at one of our charity shops and paid a bit more than I would normally do, knowing it was going for charity just had to come home with me. Besides I didn't have a cookbook by Escoffier.

I did notice that there was a bookplate stating that it shouldn't be removed from this gentleman's room and really didn't think too much more about it. Cool that the date was September 1907. That dates the book.

And it has a lovely photo of the Chef. I love antique photos anyway. Check out that mustache.

Even the first page didn't give me any clues to what I have found out this past week looking on the Internet.

I can't say for sure that Mr. Escoffier gave this book to Mr. S. S. McClure himself, or that Mr. McClure just decided to keep a copy, but I found out that Mr. McClure owned the publishing company. He was born in Ireland and then lived in my home state of Indiana and was the publisher of McClures magazine. The S. S. stands for Samuel Sidney. The magazine was touted as being one of the first Muckraking magazines published. Wikipedia's entry for S.S. McClure. Can you imagine the paparazzi of that era and all the scandal then. I am not too sure if Escoffier himself wasn't an entry in the magazine as I saw a telly program saying that he created Peach Melba for the Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba when he was chef at the Savoy in London. Apparently it was served in an ice sculpture of a swan. How romantic!!!!
Isn't it amazing what one can find out on the Internet. What to me started out to be just another old antique cookbook now seems to be much more interesting. Reading it is like reading a bit of history. I was looking through it the other day and came across his recipe for making Gnocchi and it said to do the potatoes the English way. So I asked my husband, he being a Brit, what the English way was. Well he had no clue. So I looked up the potato section of the book and it seems in 1907 Escoffier didn't hold English potatoes too highly. All it means to do is cook the potatoes without salt. Why he couldn't have said that in the Gnocci recipe I don't know.

But you can see what I mean about reading the history, food history that is. I am also very glad that the Brits have much better Potatoes now too!!! I mean what would I do without Chips with my fish???