This title features recipes and reminiscences from Alice B. Toklas,
Gertrude Stein's lover a and prominent American expat living in
France - and writing about its cuisine - during the first half of
the 20th century. Long before Julia Child or M.F.K. Fisher
discovered French cooking, Alice B. Toklas was sampling local
dishes, collecting recipes, and cooking for the writers, artists,
and expats who lived in Paris between the wars. Hemingway,
Fitzgerald, Wilder (Toklas called him Thornie), Matisse, and
Picasso shared meals at the home she kept with her lover, Gertrude
Stein, who famously memorialised her in "The Autobiography of Alice
B. Toklas". This cook book, however, is Toklas' true memoir, a
collection of memories and traditional French recipes that predates
Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and recalls the Paris
of Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast". M.F.K Fisher calls it a minor
masterpiece in the foreword she wrote for Harper's 30th anniversary
edition (1984) and which is included here. Toklas supplies familiar
recipes such as coq au vin, bouillabaisse, and two for boeuf
bourguinon that are accessible to cooks of all skill levels. In
chapters titled 'Food in French Homes', 'Dishes for Artists', and
'Murder in the Kitchen', she expounds on everything from the first
time she killed a carp to the bass she prepared for Picasso. The
book also includes her most famous recipe, haschich fudge, excised
from the first American edition, which anyone could whip up on a
rainy day. 'Ecstatic reveries and extensions of one's personality
on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected',
she writes. Almost anything Saint Teresa did, you can do better.
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