|For more than four
decades, in dozens
of national magazines and newspapers, James Beard offered recipes and
that collectively are nothing short of encyclopedic. Portions of
articles were harvested for his cookbooks, but much of his writing
only the month, week, or day in which it appeared in a given
brings to light sixty-five articles, including
three selections never before published, and is the only collection to
draw on the full scope of Beard’s magazine journalism and his
pieces cover Beard’s broad range of expertise —
from advice on the proper way to peel garlic to wise words on the best
time to feast on cassoulet. The collected articles become a memoir,
glimpses of his childhood in Portland, Oregon, family summers by the
early catering experiences in New York City, and glory days as
best-loved gourmand: dining on both sides of the Atlantic, in bistros,
in dining cars, and at home.
Full of the
notions of good food and the good life, The
Armchair James Beard
is meant for browsing and meditating on food, rather than for cooking.
But it does contain 130 recipes, so it is sure to send readers back to
the kitchen to try their hands at the tempting dishes that Beard sets
in this charming collection.
The Armchair James
Lyons Press, 2004.