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by Richard Olney

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351527,668 (4)1
The book begins in New York in 1951 where Olney, a struggling artist, waited tables in Greenwich Village, then moves to Paris and weaves a magical description of food that becomes so real -- as if you were actually there with Olney: "My first meal in Paris was in a glum little dining room for boarders, in the Hôtel de l'Académie, at the corner of rue de l'Université and the rue des Saints-Pères. The plat du jour was 'gibelotte, pommes mousseline' -- rabbit and white wine fricassee with mashed potatoes. The gibelotte was all right, the mashed potatoes the best I had ever eaten, pushed through a sieve, buttered and moistened with enough of their hot cooking water to bring them to a supple, not quite pourable consistency -- no milk, no cream, no beating. I had never dreamt of mashing potatoes without milk and, in Iowa, everyone believed that, the more you beat them, the better they were." This book is a long-awaited story of the man who brought the simplicity of French cooking to the United States, and a statement about one of the finest and most important food professionals in the world.… (more)

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1st ed.
  kitchengardenbooks | May 2, 2009 |
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For my brothers and sisters--Margaret, Norris, John, James, Elizabeth, Frances (in memoriam), Byron.
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It was the summer of 1951. I painted days and waited tables nights at 17 Barrow, a Greenwich Village Restaurant whose cuisine wanted to be international, its atmosphere bohemian; on the walls were nostalgic travel posters from the '20s and '30s, the tables were lit by candles stuck into Chianti fiascos and, in the background, Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday sang of love and heartbreak.
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The book begins in New York in 1951 where Olney, a struggling artist, waited tables in Greenwich Village, then moves to Paris and weaves a magical description of food that becomes so real -- as if you were actually there with Olney: "My first meal in Paris was in a glum little dining room for boarders, in the Hôtel de l'Académie, at the corner of rue de l'Université and the rue des Saints-Pères. The plat du jour was 'gibelotte, pommes mousseline' -- rabbit and white wine fricassee with mashed potatoes. The gibelotte was all right, the mashed potatoes the best I had ever eaten, pushed through a sieve, buttered and moistened with enough of their hot cooking water to bring them to a supple, not quite pourable consistency -- no milk, no cream, no beating. I had never dreamt of mashing potatoes without milk and, in Iowa, everyone believed that, the more you beat them, the better they were." This book is a long-awaited story of the man who brought the simplicity of French cooking to the United States, and a statement about one of the finest and most important food professionals in the world.

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