American Gourmet: Classic Recipes, Deluxe Delights, Flamboyant Favorites, and Swank "Company" Food from the '50s and '60s

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9780060167103: American Gourmet: Classic Recipes, Deluxe Delights, Flamboyant Favorites, and Swank

The authors of The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste offer a nostalgic, funny, informative look at the culinary fads of the fifties and sixties, along with classic recipes from restaurants, television, and magazines. Reprint.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

The Sterns (The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, 1990, etc.) step upscale for this treatment of the gourmet quarter-century they place between the first televised cooking show in 1946 and the opening of Alice Waters's Chez Panisse in 1971. This time, instead of showcasing the worst examples of a period dish, they try to select the best, so if you can forget about cholesterol, you might find yourself nostalgia-tripping with such innocent showoff foods as fondue, crˆpes suzette, and baked Alaska. Unlike the exclusionary epicures before them or the status-grabbing foodies of the Eighties, the Sterns maintain, the gourmets featured here were motivated by a sense of adventure about exploring foreign foods and a genuine desire to experience and provide pleasurable dining. The Sterns' commentary on all this is on the mark (though they misrepresent Taste of America authors John and Karen Hess, who came later and were antigourmet), entertaining (uncovering many cookbooks, cooking shows, and new flamboyant restaurants from Trader Vic's--the ersatz Polynesian establishment created out of a French Canadian's Oakland place called Hinky Dink's--to the more serious Four Seasons), and fondly evocative of those heady days of sauced and flaming spectacles. The Sterns (The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, 1990, etc.) step upscale for this treatment of the gourmet quarter-century they place between the first televised cooking show in 1946 and the opening of Alice Waters's Chez Panisse in 1971. This time, instead of showcasing the worst examples of a period dish, they try to select the best, so if you can forget about cholesterol, you might find yourself nostalgia-tripping with such innocent showoff foods as fondue, crˆpes suzette, and baked Alaska. Unlike the exclusionary epicures before them or the status-grabbing foodies of the Eighties, the Sterns maintain, the gourmets featured here were motivated by a sense of adventure about exploring foreign foods and a genuine desire to experience and provide pleasurable dining. The Sterns' commentary on all this is on the mark (though they misrepresent Taste of America authors John and Karen Hess, who came later and were antigourmet), entertaining (uncovering many cookbooks, cooking shows, and new flamboyant restaurants from Trader Vic's--the ersatz Polynesian establishment created out of a French Canadian's Oakland place called Hinky Dink's--to the more serious Four Seasons), and fondly evocative of those heady days of sauced and flaming -- Copyright 1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Respected arbiters of camp and kitsch, the prolific Sterns ( The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste ) currently focus their talent for connecting culture and food on an aspect of an era that, until now, has received little notice. While the lowbrow culinary cliches of the '50s and '60s were real enough, there also existed alongside them a very upper-middle-class appreciation of what the Sterns call "The Good Life," in which " coq au vinsic replaced dowdy casseroles on the women's pages of upwardly striving daily newspapers" and according to which "travelers could enjoy such delicacies as coquilles St. Jacques and creme brulee in the dining room of nearly any Holiday Inn." While many such recipes are easily found in volumes that serious cooks may have relegated to the dusty back shelves of their collections, a number of those included here are welcome revivals ("incredibly rich lobster Thermidor"). Others, like "1964 World's Fair Sangria," are amusing relics. And some--"Life-Affirming Moussaka" and "Aphrodisiacal Artichokes"--divulge a rarely seen '50s sensibility. In their inimitably witty, urbane and wonderfully entertaining style, the Sterns give the era its due. Photos not seen by PW. HomeStylesic alternate.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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