Catalogue Seven: Rabelais' 10th Anniversary
With this, our seventh full-length catalogue, we celebrate the tenth anniversary of Rabelais. In November of 2006, Samantha and I passed a ‘For Rent’ sign in a Portland shop window, spent lunch sketching a business plan on a napkin and, just a few months later in the Spring of 2007 opened Rabelais. The shop has allowed us to spend our days surrounded by good customers and new friends, meet many of the greatest of chefs and cookbook authors, and engage with Maine’s incredible food community of farmers, fisherman, marketers, chefs, bartenders and others. Best of all, we get to spend our days in the company of cookbooks which have grabbed our attention, first to supply us with tasty meals, and then to make us think differently about the role of food and food writing in culture and history.
Over time, our attention has gravitated more and more toward the rare material. After all, most contemporary books can’t offer up chapters – at least not all at once – on: “Pickling, Collaring, Potting, Preparation of Hams, Bacon, &c., Elegant Ornaments for a Grand Entertainment, Made Wines, Cordial Waters, Malt Liquors, Culinary Poisons, and Necessary Articles for Sea Faring Persons.” (#22)
And, while old cookbooks have long been loved and collected, the systematic collecting of cookbooks remains a young-ish field, somewhat overlooked by parts of the world of institutional special collections (with some notable and magnificent exceptions), and by antiquarian booksellers (again, with some notable and magnificent exceptions). This is good news, as it is still possible to find unrecognized and underexamined works out in the wild, at book fairs, in used and antiquarian bookshops, and on the shelves of kitchen libraries. This catalogue offers seven items not found in the collections of research libraries around the world, and thus this provides a debut of sorts for these books, humble though some of them may be.
Another reason cookbooks continue to hold our attention is the range of purposes for which they are made. Almost every conceivable corner of society seems to produce a cookbook and for every possible reason: a confectioner claims preeminence in his field (#38); an inventor provides a technological innovation hoping to feed the poor (#24 & 25); a group of women from Missouri try to create of bit of American culinary normalcy while acting as missionaries in New Guinea (#72); or a businessman looks to take advantage of trade with China by introducing American customers to Chop Suey and Chow Mein (#54).
To list the rest of many reasons we continue to love finding, researching and selling rare cookbooks would take a book, but the real work is done one book, manuscript, or piece of ephemera at a time, which is exactly what we’ll continue to do.
NEArtBookFair : short title list
What are the cookbook folks doing at the art book fair? Well, before we did cookbooks, and before we carried the name Rabelais, our specialty was historical the avant-gardes, artists’ books and modern “isms”. So when we heard there was going to be a New England Art Book Fair we reached deep into our inventory to unearth examples of unusual and rare art books, artists’ books, fine printing, photo books, ‘zines, art ephemera, and works from the mimeo revolution. Movements represented include Dada, Surrealism, Bauhaus, Pataphysics, New York School, Fluxus, and Conceptual Art. We will also bring some more traditional works of the fine press, livres d’artistes, and a unique vernacular collage book. You’ll notice that some of the books we bring are both art/artists’ books and food-related. We look forward to exhibiting these items alongside the contemporary materials of the other exhibitors.
2016 RBMS Showcase List
Thirty seven notable items to be offered at the 2016 RBMS Conference Showcase in Coral Gables Florida.
The 2015 Ephemera Society of America Conference Short List
We head to Greenwich, CT for the 35th Ephemera Society of American Annual Conference and Fair. We will be exhibiting Saturday and Sunday at th e fair and hope to see some of you. It is the premier event in the US for collectors of rare paper. Click through for a pdf of the short list of some of the items that will be on offer.
Between Farm & Table: The Production & Marketing of Food
How and when did food production move from the kitchen to the factory? The items in this catalogue seek to illustrate this transformation. Included are printed and manuscript materials produced by and for the food industry: handbooks, trade catalogues, advertising art, labels, photographs, and ephemera. We've divided the catalogue into the primary activities that occur 'between farm and table', stopping just short of the home or restaurant kitchen.Price: $10.00 Add to Cart
Rabelais Catalogue 2
You hold in your hands (well, virtually) Rabelais Catalogue 2. It’s been a long time coming, almost three years now since its predecessor. We’ve tried to fill the time in between with short lists, some printed special items, like our cocktail brochure for Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, and more than a few appearances at book fairs. But there’s nothing like a real catalogue to force a bookseller to get down to work, to take stock of what he or she has purchased that might be worthy of a print, and to get around to doing the research, writing and photography that are the building blocks of this ephemeral, and admittedly commercial, endeavor.
Our first catalogue of antiquarian titles contains books from the 18th through the 20th centuries, and includes cookbooks, artist's books, farm and garden books, cocktail manuals and more.
Tales of the Cocktail Short List 2011
This July, we head to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, the annual international conference for drink history and craft cocktail creation. We'll be displaying hundreds of rare books on cocktails, drink history, distilling, wine, soda fountains and more. As a little tease, we've created this short catalogue with just a few of our offerings. See you in the Big Easy!