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Time Life "Foods of the World" series

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132 replies to this topic

#1 Kim WB

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 02:25 PM

I've heard this series referenced by a talented cook I know, as well as heard it mentioned on some egullet threads..and today, while leafing through Sara Moulton Cooks at Home (great Spice cookie recipe in there) I noticed she also reccomends finding a used set of this series.

Any comments?

#2 Aurora

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 02:45 PM

I've heard this series referenced by a talented cook I know, as well as  heard it mentioned on some egullet threads..and today, while leafing through Sara Moulton Cooks at Home (great Spice cookie recipe in there) I noticed she also reccomends finding a used set of this series.

Any comments?

Grab up as many as you can find. They're out there and they're worth it. Don't let Ebay be your only source.

Don't just take my word for it, ask Maggiethecat and Bourdain.

#3 vengroff

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 02:58 PM

Foods of the World Series? Once you get past hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks, and beer, what is there?
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#4 maggiethecat

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 03:14 PM

Grab up as many as you can find.  They're out there and they're worth it.  Don't let Ebay be your only source. 

Don't just take my word for it, ask Maggiethecat and Bourdain.

Get them. The recipes work. The wrting is excellent (MFK herself wrote "Provinicial France") and the photography is drop-dead beautiful.

As Aurora said...don't limit yourself to eBay. Used book stores, yard sales: Keep your eyes open.

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#5 elyse

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 03:16 PM

Photography? You got photography?

I love mine.

#6 MsRamsey

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 03:20 PM

Which ones do you want? I could keep an eye out. I see them in thrift stores pretty frequently. In my experience, though, the Japan book is hard to find. Are they reasonable on eBay?
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#7 Kim WB

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 03:28 PM

.  Are they reasonable on eBay?

Hardcover started bidding at $60 for 26 books. Most individual books start at about $3-4...the set will cost close to 20 dollars to ship, though, I think.

#8 hjshorter

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 03:39 PM

Wow, that's a lot! And yes, they're worth it. After searching for years, and picking up singles here and there, I scored the whole set at the Goodwill book sale here in DC - the whole series, plus the recipe booklets. I paid $25. Check used book stores and yard sales too.
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#9 sagestrat

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 03:39 PM

I have wanted these books for years as I had heard so much about them. A couple of years ago, my brother-in-law tracked them all down for me for my birthday. I am embarrassed to say that I have only gone through a few of them. This thread has inspired me to start reading them again.

Thanks!

#10 Suzanne F

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 04:05 PM

Foods of the World Series?  Once you get past hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks, and beer, what is there?

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

It depends on who's playing: sushi in California, crab cakes in Baltimore, bullets at Yankee Stadium, and so on.


Seriously, sort of: one reason I love those Time-Life books is that they came out just as the world was changing from somewhat insular, local (sometimes VERY local) cuisines to a broader acceptance of different foods all over. So they give a snapshot of the last days of "authentic" foods -- but in a way meant to educate us and open our eyes and palates. Like that picture of your kid still enjoying being a kid, just before turning into a surly adolescent.

#11 Priscilla

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 04:37 PM

T-L Foods of the World is a GREAT series. I mean, I know a Bulgarian who consults the Bulgarian section of the Quintet of Cuisines volume! The writing is often great, and always interesting and worthwhile.

My set was completed over years (not single-mindedly searching), finding the spiral-bound recipe book long after the main volume, in some cases. Sometimes my Mother the Reference Librarian would find one among her Friends of the Library donations.

I have heard there's an edition which slip-cases each little spiral and big hardbound together. What a beeyootiful sight THAT must be. And oh don't I envy HJS's finding the whole set all at the onct -- what a major, major score.

I feel I should mention T-L's The Good Cook series -- edited by Richard Olney, so good, so useful. And beautifully bound, with TWO place-holding ribbons per volume.

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#12 WHT

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 04:39 PM

I've heard this series referenced by a talented cook I know, as well as  heard it mentioned on some egullet threads..and today, while leafing through Sara Moulton Cooks at Home (great Spice cookie recipe in there) I noticed she also reccomends finding a used set of this series.

Any comments?

You many want to check Amazon.com auctions. The prices may be better.
Living hard will take its toll...

#13 heyjude

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 05:12 PM

I agree with Priscilla that the Good Cook series which shows up in all the aforementioned places, is a very important addition to your library, too. They are unique in their approach to teaching basics. Owning both sets takes up a lot of shelf space, but you could cook from them for the next 100 years.
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#14 SobaAddict70

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Posted 28 May 2003 - 09:33 PM

My high school library and the library in my teenage hometown had the entire T-L FotW series, including the volume on Wine and Spirits which is a sort of add-on to the entire set of books. I would say that the series is what ultimately inspired me to delve into cooking as a teenager. It helps that James Beard himself was a consultant on much of the series, in particular the volumes on Americana.

I recommend the Strand bookstore if you're here in NYC.

Amazon is another good source.

The volumes on Scandanavia, Japan, Spain/Portugal and Cajun/Creole cuisines are favorites of mine.

Soba

#15 bilrus

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 06:43 AM

In my experience, though, the Japan book is hard to find.  Are they reasonable on eBay?

I just searched on EBay and the first one that popped up was the Japan one. Ending today with no bids so far, but it is $11.
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#16 bilrus

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 06:47 AM

I also stumbled onto this site, which seemed interesting.

http://www.cookbkjj.com/
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#17 MatthewB

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 06:51 AM

I also stumbled onto this site, which seemed interesting.

http://www.cookbkjj.com/

FWIW, I'd recommend that site. I've ordered from Janet Jarvits for years with no problems. Two thumbs up.

(BTW, she's very good at searching, too, with very fair prices.)

#18 rstarobi

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 07:41 AM

I'm partial to hot dogs myself - but then again, if it's the world series, I might splurge and get a pretzel too.

But seriously folks, I've seen these in my local salvation army thrift store before; they aren't incredibly rare as far as I can tell; I'd have bought them, except my girlfriend already has the full set.
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#19 Kim WB

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 08:28 AM

I'm partial to hot dogs myself - but then again, if it's the world series, I might splurge and get a pretzel too.

But seriously folks, I've seen these in my local salvation army thrift store before; they aren't incredibly rare as far as I can tell; I'd have bought them, except my girlfriend already has the full set.

I really have to get out more... :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Serioulsy, there are not a lot of thrift stores in the area I live in, ( Princeton) and the churches tend to have endowments instead of tag sales! :hmmm: :laugh: But I am going to visit a used book shop that I know of, and start there, with maybe a single book or two to determine if they're worth it..and I refer more to Hey Jude's comment of shelfspace, which is just as valuable to me as a bargain!

Thank you all for your comments, I am going to look for both the Foods of The World series, and the Good Cooks.

#20 KatieLoeb

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 10:02 AM

Kim:

I have a couple of the Good Cook series and they are invaluable. I own Poultry, Beef and Pork and the techniques, clear photographs and excellent explanations are well worth it. You've inspired me to start looking for some of the others as well, and to find some of the Food of the World series too. They are readily available at Amazon and used book stores. The shelf space thing I can get over - these books should have a place of honor on anyone's bookshelf.

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#21 KNorthrup

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 09:52 AM

I just completed my set the week before last (Middle East). It took about two years and I found them all in thrift stores and used bookstores. The spiral versions however, are far more difficult to track down. They're great for just reading cover to cover and I have good luck with the recipes as well. To tie back to two different earlier comments, the only slipcovered two-in-one volume I have is the Japanese. My mother donated it to the cause; I haven't seen that format for sale anywhere.

Am now kicking around the idea of trying The Good Cook. Already miss the ongoing quest.

#22 kpurvis

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 01:27 PM

I wouldn't part with my Italian and Chinese ones for anything. And I'll throw in a vote for the American series, too. After several years of looking, I finally scored both the book and the recipe book for the Southern one, at Bonnie Slotnick's, and they've got a place of honor on my bulging kitchen book shelf.
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#23 bilrus

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 02:18 PM

I wouldn't part with my Italian and Chinese ones for anything. And I'll throw in a vote for the American series, too. After several years of looking, I finally scored both the book and the recipe book for the Southern one, at Bonnie Slotnick's, and they've got a place of honor on my bulging kitchen book shelf.

What is the difference between the book and the recipe book? This thread has piqued my interest and I am interested in finding these but I want to know what to look for.
Bill Russell

#24 SobaAddict70

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 02:35 PM

The difference between the book and the spiral bound recipe book is that the book reads more like a travelogue (with recipes).

The book presents areas of cuisine and types of food in the region or country, while the spiral bound volume is entirely composed of recipes.

The set is worth it just for the books alone (IMHO) -- great writing, lush photography, wonderful presentation. The fact that there are spiral bound accompaniaments for each volume, each with functional and working recipes is just gravy. :smile:

Cheers,

Soba

Edited by SobaAddict70, 30 May 2003 - 02:36 PM.


#25 hjshorter

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 04:08 PM

The books include about half of the recipes. The rest are only in the recipe booklet.
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#26 Priscilla

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 04:13 PM

Yes. A person needs both. Otherwise all the recipes in the book's index with the mysterious R next to them remain just that, a mystery.

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#27 Pan

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 05:09 PM

Foods of the World Series?  Once you get past hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks, and beer, what is there?

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

It depends on who's playing: sushi in California, crab cakes in Baltimore, bullets at Yankee Stadium, and so on.

Now, now! We wouldn't want people to get the wrong idea that Yankee Stadium is dangerous, would we?

#28 KNorthrup

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 05:15 PM

the volume on Wine and Spirits which is a sort of add-on to the entire set of books.

Is that worthwhile? I've seen it but ignored it because wine habits have changed even more than food over the last 30 years.

#29 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 07:30 PM

Thanks for the tips. I just picked up a copy of "The Cooking of Provincial France" in the series, written by MFK Fisher. It had the recipe pamphlet (three hole punched, not spiral bound) for "THe Cooking of Italy" stuck inside it. All for $2. I'll now keep my eyes open for more.

#30 Suzanne F

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 07:38 PM

Foods of the World Series?  Once you get past hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks, and beer, what is there?

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

It depends on who's playing: sushi in California, crab cakes in Baltimore, bullets at Yankee Stadium, and so on.

Now, now! We wouldn't want people to get the wrong idea that Yankee Stadium is dangerous, would we?

I don't care. I'm a Mets fan. :biggrin:





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