My first knowledge of a book with this stately title was spoken about in reverentially hushed tones by the chefs cooking around me. I had not yet become aware that cookbooks could change my life. I had cooked for 6 or 7 years before that thunderbolt struck my noggin. I was in the sweaty confusion of a kitchen at The Pier House Hotel in Key West during this epochal period of my cooking life. All books were expensive to me then but when I learned of the price of this one I knew my odds of possessing a copy were about as likely of me getting a new Cadillac. One of the chefs was a recent graduate of the Culinary Institute of America brought one in one day. It must have weighed 7 or 8 pounds! The pages were thin and exquisite. There were some photos and illustrations that made it seem like medieval text. I wanted it. Though I had not found the religion of cookbooks yet I did have that zeal which came from the holy gift of our maternal grandmother coming to live with us when I was ten years of age. She packed up her New York City life of 60 plus years and made her way west to Illinois. Along with her conservative dresses, sensible shoes, and opera records, she brought a full series of the 1922 collection of the Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia she had acquired. I spent countless hours stretched out on the floor of the small cottage on the lake we lived next to absorbing all I could.
Now it’s time to hit the ‘Listen on WLRN’ button at the top to hear the remainder of my show. ‘A Word On Food’ airs on WLRN every Saturday around 8:30 a.m. at 91.3 and also 91.5 on the radio. I want to thank so many of you who tell me in person how much you are enjoying the show!