A Treasury of Great Recipes - 1965
An Invitation an a Promise
"Come into our kitchen” is an invitation we extend to all of you reading this book. It is an invitation which has been extended to us in many languages, in many lands, by some of the world’s most famous chefs-and many an obscure one too -in great restaurants and quiet little bistros, one of England’s stately homes and even, in one case, in a museum. Our treasury of great recipes has been lovingly collected from all sorts of places wherever in the world we have enjoyed good food.
For Gourmet cooking is where you find it, and connoisseurs of the culinary are found wherever there is good eating. It is not only in Europe, it is not always in the grand places, nor is it necessarily exotic or expensive. The finest food, like the best in every art, is simply a matter of excellence of preparation, imagination and performance.
The purpose of this book is to invite you to dine, wine, break bread partake with us of our favorite dishes gleaned from kitchens all over the world. We have gone straight to the source, to the great chefs and to those dedicated to seeing to it that the world eats well. Mary and I have accepted not only their invitation to eat, but also the challenge of trying to find out what we were eating, why it was so good, and how it got that way. Behind the scenes we’ve met the alchemists in tall, white hats who have initiated us into their mysteries. So far they’ve all been wonderful to us, and not a skillet has been raised in high dudgeon when we invaded their domain. Somehow it has gotten around that we are collectors of everything, all the arts, folk art, decorative art, fine art and the art of enjoying food—and preparing it.
When we come back home from any trip to anywhere we try to bring something of that place with us, including menus from the restaurants and recipes. Sometimes there has been some aspect of a place that made us feel we could do something more to decorate our house when we returned, to remind us of that place. Or there came a day when we got home and it occurred to us, “How lovely it would be if we could have a meal such as the one we had in that tiny old restaurant in Spain.”
Then we would have fun cooking it and telling our guests where we first had it and how ours was different. Maybe we would serve it on dishes brought home from our trip. The whole thing was a wonderful glamorous recreation of the experience. And that is what we really want to try to do for people with this book. So in these pages you will see how we have brought home treats for the eye as well as for the palate.
It is comparatively easy to hang pictures and place objects, but the recipes literally take some doing, and so we did them. Over the years we did them and did them and did them again (“Mary is a marvelous cook'-Vincent) (“Vincent is a good cook, too”—Mary) until at last the results are as delicious as our memories of the originals.
All those irritating measurements, strange ingredients and complicated procedures are now geared to the American kitchen, to its equipment and to one housewife with only two hands—and a husband who loves to dabble in the kitchen. Together we have tried out on our friends, and on each other, all the good things we’ve eaten at home and abroad. The famous and the off-beat recipes have been translated—or adapted if you will—in the home kitchen. Your kitchen as well as ours, we hope.
Now for that promise, and we intend to keep it. We would like to assure you that the recipes in this treasury are, for the most part, never grand, not too difficult, and well within your ability and budget to achieve hope you will accept our promise that is this book’s first premise—that you can be a memorable host or hostess by learning to create extraordinary food and attractive settings for it. The recipes, suggestions and photographs in this book are designed to help you do just that. We promise.