If you enjoy reading cookbooks, doing a bit of armchair traveling, and eating delicious food then please stop what you are doing and get yourself over to the Saratoga Library where they are currently offering a very nice selection of books from the Time-Life Foods of the World series for only fifty cents each in the cafe bookstore. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase the one pictured above, The Cooking of Vienna’s Empire, because I beat you to it, but a number of other excellent ones (like Italy) are probably still there.
I have two favorite things that my mother-in-law, Darlene, passed on to me before she died – a Chemex coffee maker that she never even used and that I broke and have yet to replace (but will someday because it is my favorite coffee maker ever) and her collection of Time-Life Foods of the World books. They’re just so good: the writing, the photography (all those great old photographers from Life magazine), the contributors (James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child!); they are a treasure of twentieth century culinary history. I believe they were published between 1968 and 1971. Each book also has a companion spiral-bound version with additional recipes. I didn’t notice any of those at the library, but don’t let that stop you from picking up the beautiful hardcover books. Just look at that picture of the fanciest cake in Vienna, the Spanische Windtorte, made of meringue and whipped cream. I love the contrast between the fancy pastry and the rugged stone or cement wall it is sitting on. Meringue is my favorite; now I have a recipe to aspire to! Take a look at the following pages too.
You’re not still reading this, are you? Go get those books!