New York: Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, 1890.
Octavo (19 x 13.5 cm.), xii, 214 pages. Advertisements. Illustrations in the text. FIRST EDITION. An interesting and often charming late nineteenth-century American gastronomy book. The book goes to great lengths to compare American and British cooking with French, unfavorably. The author holds up Whistler's Peacock Room for the Leyland house as an example of a properly decorated dining room, and includes an interesting section on the history of dining tables, and another on accepting or declining dinner invitations from friends whose skill at providing a fine meal is lacking. And he thinks the sad state of dining in America needs governmental attention, to whit, "I have wondered, for instance, why, in countries where rational governments exist, and where a minister is appointed to attend to the the interests of the fine arts, with, under him, directors, deputy directors, and a dozen grades of minor functionaries, no emperor, king or republic has yet thought of creating a Minister of Gastronomy." Two pages bear some discoloration from a newspaper clipping laid-in, otherwise very good, in publisher's decorated cloth with an interesting, rug-like design in black, gold and silver. Ownership signature to title page, and a single newspaper clipping pasted in at front, "Kangaroos as Food". [Bitting page 87]. Certainly there is no lack of cookbooks. Indeed, this special branch of literature is more flourishing in the United States and in Great Britain than in the country [France] where good cookery is not yet entirely a souvenir of the past. from the Introduction by P.Z. Disbury