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The Time Life series "The Good Cook"


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#1 Anna N

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 04:42 PM

We have a topic devoted to the Time Life series Foods of the World. But a search of the forums indicates that the Time lLfe series The Good Cook does not have a topic devoted to it. I propose to start one.

Today Kerry Beal and I were in a thrift store and came across many volumes in this series. All of them were in mint condition and each was being sold for $1.99.

We each picked up volumes which we believed were missing from our own collection of these fabulous books.

Tonight I am skimming all of the volumes we purchased. One would expect that books that are 31 years old would be too terribly dated to be of interest. Not so.

The photography seems as modern as any of my latest cookbooks. The step-by-step photographs could only have been improved if video/Youtube had been available then.

The recipes continue to have a classical appeal yet rarely seem dated.

They read not as though written by celebrity chefs but by genuine Teachers with a capital T.

Here are the volumes we picked up today:

image.jpg

image.jpg

That's my paen (in prose not poetry) to The Good Cook series.

Elsewhere, on various threads, I know weinoo and
rotuts have sung the praises of this series and I am certain others have also. I know Kerry Beal swears by the Candy volume. She picks it up where ever she finds it to pass it on to any new candy maker.

Please share your involvement. Tell us about the recipes you've made and still make, the techniques you mastered with the help of the detailed directions and anything that endears you to these books. They should not be allowed to sink into oblivion.
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#2 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 05:55 PM

I even have the soft Equipment booklet (available here: http://www.amazon.co... cook time life )

 

sNvd18k.jpg


Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#3 Anna N

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 06:07 PM

That is a beautiful sight. Thank you for sharing.

Edited to swap site for sight. Damned Dictaphone.

Edited by Anna N, 04 June 2014 - 06:08 PM.

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#4 janeer

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 06:42 PM

Gee, thanks a lot. You just made be buy a couple more: Fruits and Sauces. Not that I need another cake book, but how is that one?

#5 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:09 PM

I have the full collection.  By chance tonight I am cooking "A Chinese Tactic", Dried Beans & Grains p 23.



#6 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:10 PM

I might say I got mine by subscription when they were new.



#7 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 11:26 PM

The Good Cooks rice was great!  Though sadly I suffered great tooth breakage on the duck.  I am running out of teeth.  Which is a plus for ice cream.

 

I have to add, a quarter century or so ago I came home to find my then teenagers dividing up my Good Cooks collection for after I am dead.  I can think of no greater testimonial.


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#8 Anna N

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 04:08 AM

The Good Cooks rice was great!  Though sadly I suffered great tooth breakage on the duck.  I am running out of teeth.  Which is a plus for ice cream.
 
I have to add, a quarter century or so ago I came home to find my then teenagers dividing up my Good Cooks collection for after I am dead.  I can think of no greater testimonial.


Wonderful testimonial (if a little disconcerting at the time?). The duck--rotten recipe, lead shot or operator error?
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#9 weinoo

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 04:47 AM

Many of the people who participated in the writing of those books would be celebrity chefs today, in my opinion.
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#10 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 05:15 AM

I might say I got mine by subscription when they were new.

 

Yeah, thats how I got part of my collection. My dad had a penchant for starting collections (Franklin Mint ARG!) and not completing them.

 

So now that I have the full 39 book collection (US and UK editions) I now found out there are additional Aussie editions...Not sure if they have Aussie recipes but my OCD self is trying to ignore it for now before I go insane


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Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#11 blue_dolphin

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:04 AM

Yes, these are wonderful books.  The step-by-step photos are so helpful when trying something unfamiliar.  I often look to them even when I'm using a recipe from another source. 

I started buying them by subscription but needed to cancel after just a few as it was too expensive for my starving student budget.  I've since picked up a few here and there.

 

Here's what I have of the series.  Thanks for prompting me to snap this shot -  I'll keep it on my phone for used book store trips!

Good_Cook.jpg

 

The collection is generally very well guarded:

Good_Cook_cat.jpg


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#12 rotuts

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:19 AM

id be very interested in finding out if there were changes in the Aussie editions.  i doubt it a bit 

 

as i have noted I have these in French:

 
post-68597-0-28098100-1401907534.jpg
 
Ive always thought they were simply translations.
 
but perhaps not.   Ive never look at them side to side in detail 
 
the French edition on Vegetables:
 
Legumes.jpg
 
and then there is this FR one:
 
Gibier.jpg
 
this would be 'Game'
 
going to Wiki:
 
 
some were not published in the US   Game was UK
 
at the time TL editors thought Game a bit exotic of USA.
 
now I have to track down my collection, which has been dispersed.


#13 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:27 PM

Wonderful testimonial (if a little disconcerting at the time?). The duck--rotten recipe, lead shot or operator error?

 

The fowl (not from The Good Cook) was leftover Thai restaurant crispy duck, nicely reheated sous vide.  Delicious but full of chopped up bones.



#14 rotuts

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:46 PM

oddly enough

 

in the very back recess's of my "" brain""

 

Ive wondered why the FR edition of 'les legumes' (sorry im not going to to the accent ) had a different cover then the 

 

N.American.

 

after 'pulling a cork'

 

(  see   "True Grit" but think  'old grape juice' )

 

I realized this :

 

those  Asparagus-us on the N. American edition might have been tossed out

 

Dans La France

 

just saying.

 

Pretty Limp  they look like



#15 Anna N

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:55 PM

oddly enough
 
in the very back recess's of my "" brain""
 
Ive wondered why the FR edition of 'les legumes' (sorry im not going to to the accent ) had a different cover then the 
 
N.American.
 
after 'pulling a cork'
 
(  see   "True Grit" but think  'old grape juice' )
 
I realized this :
 
those  Asparagus-us on the N. American edition might have been tossed out
 
Dans La France
 
just saying.
 
Pretty Limp  they look like


This is just odd. But I looked at that cover today and thought gee that asparagus looks a bit overdone to me! We must be channeling each other! The horror! The horror! But on the whole the photography and the food pass muster.
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#16 rotuts

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 02:07 PM

what's even more interesting, is some one or two

 

Dans La France

 

said   'Non"  and changed the cover

 

how 'cool' is that back in the dark ages 

 

I wonder how many 'Cooks'  dans la france  bough these books ?

 

they were very well displayed at both the two large department stores in FR in 1985:

 

 

Galeries Lafayette

 

and

 

 

Printemps

 

I looked them over at the time

 

got a few books 

 

and lots of this:

 

https://www.google.c...bih=868&dpr=1.2

 

indeed  soon Ill pull a cork a use one of these

 

 



#17 annabelle

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 02:09 PM

What a find, Anna!  I bought all the books by subscription in the late 70's ($9 plus shipping) and learned to cook from them as a newlywed.  My poor husband suffered through a lot of failures, but I got my stubborn German face on and made it all work out in time.  Granted it was a few years before I got to the point that all would pass muster with guests and I still take flack from my mother for being "fancy".

 

Time-Life (or whomever owns the imprimatur) should re-release them in an anniversary set.


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#18 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:39 PM

GoodCook.jpg



#19 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 05:33 AM

Many of the people who participated in the writing of those books would be celebrity chefs today, in my opinion.

 

Richard Olney was the series editor, for starters. 



#20 patrickamory

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:03 PM

Good point Sylvia. Arguably Richard Olney was a celebrity chef, for his time. Maybe not such a household name as Julia Child, but several books that made it to paperback, and the inspiration for a generation of cooks, American English and French, who did become celebrities.

 

rotuts, I guarantee that Olney was as involved in the production of the French editions as the English and American ones. The photography features his actual hands and was mostly done in London btw.

 

There are significant differences even between the US and UK editions so I'd expect the French ones to vary as well - extremely cool that you have those.

 

Btw - Olney had little to do with the selection of recipes (as opposed to the techniques that take up most of each book), many of which were sourced from various public domain sources, or adapted from other cookbook authors. They often have little to do with the techniques section. Though Olney included recipes in his other books, he had little truck with them at least when it came to following them to the letter, and highly recommended that aspiring cooks master techniques and ingredients and then improvise.

 

(He did have a peculiar fixation on stuffing things, though.)



#21 Anna N

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:06 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe either Julia Child or Richard Olney were ever chefs.
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#22 rotuts

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:10 PM

re: Richard Olney

 

I had two os his books back way then.

 

lived in FR

 

he does have a bit of distinction :

 

some one, a later Felon, who spent a bit of time In The Big House

 

who might have intitals :  MS  ( felon )

 

stoled verbatim a few Rx's of RO and put them in her Cook Book  ( sic   :huh: )

 

She got sued. She lost.  this was way back when , when the people did not sue bout this.

 

good enough.

 

She did this a second time, just as before   no difference.  perhaps the Second RO book ?

 

are soon to be Felon lost a second time .

 

true story.

 

thats it.

 

Felons like MS  have that In There Bones.



#23 annabelle

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:11 PM

No, they weren't.  In fact Olney was actually a very prolific painter and portraitist.  He edited "The Good Cook" series and wrote many humorous essays about food, but he was never a chef and neither was Julia Child. 



#24 rotuts

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:11 PM

good point AnnaN

 

but R.O is worth looking into  his books from France where he lived at the time.

 

and that was a long time ago.



#25 rotuts

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:13 PM

he also wrote a few  ( 2 ? I have them somewhere ) books about

 

whats on your table. and on your plate.

 

ask MS, Felon.


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#26 annabelle

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:14 PM

She never writes or calls.



#27 rotuts

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:17 PM

annabelle:

 

you are so lucky.

 

she has nothing to say, except maybe she wants to """ borrow "" that tractor

 

dont' expect it back

 

any time soon:

 

RO:

 

http://www.amazon.co...ey/e/B000APNZ16

 

you have to go back 20 or 30 years to see the stuff im thinking about.


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#28 rotuts

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:21 PM

one does not need to be a Chef to understand what's

 

"on the plate"

 

that's your plate

 

if you are lucky

 

think:

 

Waverely Root.

 

http://www.amazon.co..._sl_36yyb8nsz_b

 

these books were from the late '50 to early '60's

 

Yum Yum



#29 patrickamory

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:39 PM

OK, using the term "chef" loosely to mean "professional cook." After all, Julia Child was best known for a TV show called "The French Chef" !  :rolleyes:

 

Btw, the "Variety Meats" volume is called "Offal" in Britain.



#30 Anna N

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:50 PM

OK, using the term "chef" loosely to mean "professional cook." After all, Julia Child was best known for a TV show called "The French Chef" !  :rolleyes:
 
Btw, the "Variety Meats" volume is called "Offal" in Britain.


Yes we need a word/title that covers those like Julia and Richard. While they were never chefs, cook doesn't do them justice. Professional cook is as good as it gets I think.
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