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The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook Paperback – 3 Jan 1998
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Alice B. Toklas Cookbook
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Most of the recipes in this book are related to events in the author's life, including dinner parties thrown for famous artists such as Picasso, and dishes prepared by friends and servants. There is a focus on French cuisine (with a famous dish involving 100 frogs' legs) with some Austrian and American dishes included. The book also features a controversial recipe for Hash Fudge. However, unless you are already a very experienced cook, these recipes may be a little hard to follow as they are very short and there is little discussion of technique. The measurements and equipment referred to as well as some of the ingredients are also now quite out of date and may require some re-interpretation.
Though undoubtedly of interest to people with a strong interest in cooking and the origins of recipes, I would suggest this is better read as a work of memoir, particularly in terms of the relationship between food and memory. It gives an insight into life with servants in early 20th Century France, and Toklas' chapter on the comings and goings of her various cooks and housekeepers was one of my favourite parts of the book. I also enjoyed her descriptions of wartime rationing and examples of recipes that were used in times of scarcity.
It is an engaging read and Toklas' style is cheerfully amusing. However, I would suggest it is better to read this with at least some background knowledge of the life and times of Gertrude Stein. If you are already interested in the lives of the great 20th Century artists and the influence of Gertrude Stein, this will give you an interesting insight into their domestic lives.
Bought for a dear friend who has created something amazing, inspired by the River Cafe Gals.
Great read, fantastic traditional recipes of the old school - wonderfully nostalgic entertainment