While reading this James Beard classic, I was amazed at how many recipes truly have become our favorite foods in America. I have been making some recipes for years without even considering that all along, James Beard could have in fact brought them to our awareness. It is equally amazing how many of these recipes made their way over to Africa.
My grandmother purchased one of the first copies and I now have the pleasure of owning it. This truly is a cookbook you will want to read over time. Reading the entire cookbook could be quite daunting were the recipes and notes not so delightful to read!
Each chapter begins with a note from James Beard and continues in a sort of cook's diary style with many recipes on one page. You will find recipes for cocktail food, salads, soups, eggs, cheese, fish, shellfish, poultry, game, beef, veal, lamb, pork, ham, bacon, sauces, vegetables, grains, pasta, beans, lentils, pies, pastries, cakes, cookies, puddings, ice cream, dessert sauces, fruit, bread, sandwiches, pickles, preserves and candy.
If you didn't grow up in America, you will find this cookbook all the more fascinating. You can literally read this cookbook like a novel. I found it fun to sit outside and just start reading it from the beginning, skipping over recipes I didn't find interesting and being amazed at how many recipes I was familiar with and had actually made at some point in my life.
A recipe will often start just so casually, you forget you are reading a cookbook, then suddenly you are reading the instructions and the recipe ingredients are listed on the right or left. This is written in a very personal style and you can truly hear the voice of James Beard in his writing.