“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” (Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery). I couldn’t agree more! Not only for the expressive show of Maine foliage but also for Halloween and cookbooks.

Cookbooks? Yes! October is National Cookbook Month! As you may imagine, I have hundreds of cookbooks. I can sit down and read a cookbook like someone might read a novel.

My collection includes “A Treasury of Great Recipes” (1965) authored by Mary and Vincent Price. A 50th Anniversary edition was issued in 2015. We remember Price for his horror flicks, his first being “House of Wax,” but do you know him as a culinary expert?

Treasury is a travelogue of recipes and stories capturing the essence of worldly cuisine, making Price something of a proto-Bourdain. Some recipes may look “scary,” but don’t let the names deter you. For instance, “Croque-Monsieur” translates to a “crisp ham and cheese sandwich.”

The original version’s bronze, leatherette cover, was inspired by Mary’s collection of copper. The cover and contents exude the rich glamour of the time. Photographs capture the era’s scope and elegance. Great creative care was taken. It is not merely a collection of recipes. It is a collection of experiences. Of the “Ball Park Hot Dog,” Vincent writes, “There is nothing more soul-satisfying than the first succulent bite into the juicy frankfurter.”

Mary Price defined the principle of their cookbook as “gourmet is where you find it, and ambiance is what makes the occasion.” Then gourmet and ambiance are not about lighting and place. It’s about the joy of adventure and expression of emotion. It’s the understanding that mounds of gramma’s biscuits, pots of baked beans, and over-large bowls of potato salad are as decadent and refined as French cuisine served on sterling silver platters by an expressive wait staff.


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