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Kim WB

Time Life "Foods of the World" series

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An inrelevant point: the Foods of the World series remained in print long after it originally came out, and some of the later printings, while not exactly new editions, contain slight updates on people and places. Mostly they're about people who died in the interim, like Euell Gibbons (Eastern Heartland) and that daring Alaskan pilot (Great West).

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For anyone wanting a check-list, I believe the full 27-volume set includes (not in order)

1) Provincial France

2) Classic French Cooking

3) Japan

4) Chinese Cooking

5) Pacific & Southeast Asian

6) British Isles

7) Italy

8) Russian

9) Germany

10) Scandinavia

11) Spain & Portugal

12) Vienna's Empire

13) Carribbean Islands

14) Middle Eastern

15) India

16) African

17) Latin American Cooking

18) Wines & Spirits

19) A Quintet of Cuisines

20) American Cooking

21) American Cooking: Creole & Arcadian

22) American Cooking: New England

23) American Cooking: Southern Style

24) American Cooking: The Northwest

25) American Cooking: The Great West

26) American Cooking: Eastern Heartland

27) American Cooking: The Melting Pot

The Introduction to the Melting Pot volume announces that it is the final volume in the series.

Wasn't this one of the first times regional American cooking was really discussed in a mainstream series?

And, dang, I'm missing two of the Recipe volumes.


Edited by SWoodyWhite (log)

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Hello everyone! I did find the complete 57 book set of the Time-Life Foods of the World series on Ebay for $70. plus $30 shipping, which I consider one hell of a deal! I fell in love with them when I came across them 5 years ago at the local library and then subsequently got three (Germany, Japan, Provincial France) at a yard sale. My set is in very good shape, with minimal wear, and it includes the 27 hardcover, the companion spiral set, and three supplemental booklets that were a nice bonus but non-essential. I highly recommend folks search these out if you enjoy reading your cookbooks as well as cooking from them.

I'll go search for the Good Cook series now!

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if i remember correctly , i used to read the India one for fun when i was little. I loved the pictures, and the writing was good too.

(of course i also had an appetitie for National Geographics, and my dad's Medical Journals)

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FYI Jessica's Biscuit has a number of the Good Cooks series for sale-and they are still new! I love that they buy up going-out-of-print books.

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Wasn't this one of the first times regional American cooking was really discussed in a mainstream series?

I think you're right, Woody. We cooked from the Southern volume last week.

And we're simmering the pistachio studded stuffed veal breast from "The Cooking of Italy" tonight. These books never disappoint.

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It seems I'm the only person so far willing to admit that I bought the series by subscription, starting in 1970. I remember reading them cover to cover when they each book came, and they inspired a lot of alternatives to newlywed hamburger helper. You can tell our favorite recipes by the nastiness of the pages.

Jump.

I am another one that got the series entirely by subscription, starting when I was about 19 years old. I have the entire series, which is now in storage.

The recipes do work. I learned to make Osso Buco from these books, risotto, and a ton of other wonderful recipes. These were my first introductions to anything other than southern cooking.

I also got a good part of the Good Cook series by subscription. I am still missing about 3 books from that series.

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You really can't forget that description of Spanish food at the beginning of the Spain/Portugal volume, of sharing a tortilla, some wine and bread with a complete stranger whilst on a train ride. Or how true Spanish gazpacho is made (in a clay bowl, with bread, tomatoes, peppers, onion, wine and EVOO, set out to cook in a sunlit window). Or the glories of English (yes, you read that right, English cuisine, especially in spring and summer), in the volume on the UK.

Guess that's one of my next projects, to add the books to my collection.

Soba

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You really can't forget that description of Spanish food at the beginning of the Spain/Portugal volume, of sharing a tortilla, some wine and bread with a complete stranger whilst on a train ride.

Wasn't there a description of a soup, in the Spain and Portugal volume, in the same section that you mention, which had a crustacean in the middle which was set to spinning 'round in the bowl? Or is that in another volume.

For some reason this sticks with me. In spite of the description, it sounded so good. I wanted some of that!

I can't check the volumes now, cause they are all in storage.

Of the recipes, I started cooking from the Provincial France volume. I still think the chocolate mousse recipe in that volume is the best one I have ever had.

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Well, since we're talking about it, did anyone here happen to grab the full set they had for $25 (YES $25!!) at the James Beard House cookbook sale? I had to take a train back to Brooklyn and didn't feel like lugging them, and since I already had 6 at home I just grabbed 10 more of the "loosies" for a dollar each to add to my collection. Great books all, and only slightly outmoded in certain areas. Get 'em when you can find 'em and eBay the rest.

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I just got the whole set on ebay--$200 + $24 shipping. It works out to about $8.29 per country. I have always wanted these, and have this thread to thank, I think, for another cookbook purchase :rolleyes: . My stepmother (a great cook) had these. I learned to cook with her. I'll deal with my DH later...more the space issue than the money, although we have the space. Only my egullet colleagues understand the cookbook obsession. :laugh:

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A question: Did the books in the Time-Life Good Cook series come with spiral recipe booklets, or did they come just as hardcover volumes?

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Each book came as a set of a hard cover "travel " book and a spiral bound recipe book with all the recipes to be found in the large book plus others only mentioned in the text of the main book. I have them all, happily, and a couple of supplements that are small soft cover booklets.

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Just got gifted with about 40 volumes. haven't even looked in the boxes yet, but i'm hoping to spend a rainy weekend poring over them....where should i start? do you have the whole set? (how many volumes in the "whole set"?) i've heard and read that folks really prize these, so i'm excited to know what's great. thanks!

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You are very lucky!

My particular favorites in that series are the one on Vienna's Empire and the one on Russia and the one that combines four countries in an unusual grouping (my own books are in an unpacked box at the moment so can not exactly remember) that might be Switzerland, Turkey, Armenia and another.

Very lucky.

There are forty weekends there in that box, I think. :wink:

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with about 40 volumes. haven't even looked in the boxes yet, but i'm hoping to spend a rainy weekend poring over them....where should i start? do you have the whole set? (how many volumes in the "whole set"?) i've heard and read that folks really prize these, so i'm excited to know what's great. thanks!

One of the books in the series you might want to beware of is "The Cooking of Provincial France," compiled by the late Michael Field. In Julia Child's biography is chronicled the story of how she -- who served as a consulant on the project -- and MFK Fisher -- who wrote the introduction, were both rather appalled to have anything to do with the book. It was Field's first book and he apparently knew little at that time about the topic. Many of the recipes are bastardized versions from Julia's own "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Later, Craig Claiborne savaged the volume in a NYT review.

I've collected a few of the books in that series over the years but oddly enough, I find that the only volume I can now locate is .... "The Cooking of Provincial France." :wacko:

Another series that I do possess in its entirety is Time-Life's later "The Good Cook," overseen by Richard Olney. These single-subject books (Beef, Cakes, Soups, etc.) have stood the test of time well.

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I just misread this as "Foods of the World Series," and was thinking "Well, you could have hot dogs..." :laugh:

OK, carry on. :hmmm:

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I just misread this as "Foods of the World Series," and was thinking "Well, you could have hot dogs..." :laugh:

OK, carry on. :hmmm:

:laugh::laugh::raz:

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You are very lucky!

My particular favorites in that series are the one on Vienna's Empire and the one on Russia and the one that combines four countries in an unusual grouping (my own books are in an unpacked box at the moment so can not exactly remember) that might be Switzerland, Turkey, Armenia and another.

Very lucky.

There are forty weekends there in that box, I think.  :wink:

You're thinking of A Quintet of Cuisines which includes the cooking of Switzerland, BeNeLux, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, and North Africa.


Edited by bloviatrix (log)

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I have Time-Life's Foods of the world and the good cook series. I must get back to them soon. Any wonderful things that you've discovered in them that I must not miss?

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You're thinking of A Quintet of Cuisines which includes the cooking of Switzerland, BeNeLux, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, and North Africa.

Yes, that's the one. Great book! (Said almost twenty years after I first read it :shock::sad::laugh: )

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I have Time-Life's Foods of the world and the good cook series. I must get back to them soon. Any wonderful things that you've discovered in them that I must not miss?

There is a fantastic herbed chicken salad in the "Good Cook" series book on salads. Almost totally green with herbs. Served on bibb lettuce with black bread to go with it? Yum.

The linzertorte and the dobostorte recipes in the "Foods of the World" series from "Viennas Empire" are also excellent.

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My dear husband (because he did this, he deserves more than a DH!) got me the entire set from eBay for Mother's Day. The condition was that I had to cook something from each volume :laugh: . So inspirational!! But does anyone do what I do --think about the people in the pictures and won what happened to them? Am I thinking too much?!

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But does anyone do what I do --think about the people in the pictures and won what happened to them?  Am I thinking too much?!

One of the French ones features a family preparing and eating (I believe) pot au feu. The little girl in the picture is Alexandra Boulat, daughter of Pierre and Annie Boulat.

At least I think it's the same people.

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