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Monet’s table: the cooking journals of Claude Monet

By Claire Joyes, Jean-Bernard Naudin – Simon and Schuster (1990) – Hardback – 191 pages – ISBN 0671692593

One of the most influential painters of modern times, Claude Monet lived for half his life in the famous house at Giverny. It was after moving here in 1883 with his future second wife, Alice Hoschedézanne — other regular guests included Rodin, Whistler, Maupassant, Valéry, and one of Monet’s closest friends, the statesman Clemenceau. They came to dine in almost ritual form, first visiting Monet’s studio and the greenhouses, then having lunch at 11:30 (the time the family always dined, to enable Monet to make the most of the afternoon light). Tea would later be served under the lime trees or near the pond. Guests were never invited to dinner; because Monet went to bed very early in order to rise at dawn. All the guests were familiar with Monet’s rigid timetable. The recipes collected in his cooking journals include dishes Monet had encountered in his travels or had come across in restaurants he frequented in Paris as well as recipes from friends, such as Cézanne’s bouillabaisse and Millet’s petits pains. For this book, the author Claire Joyes, wife of Madame Monet’s great-grandson, has spent years selecting the Monets’ favorite recipes and writing a wonderfully evocative introductory text. All of the recipes have been artfully prepared and brought back to life in Monet’s own kitchen by master chef Joël Robuchon. Illustrated with sumptuous reproductions of Monet’s paintings, spectacular original four-color photographs of Giverny, selected shots of finished dishes, and facsimile pages from the notebooks themselves, this book provides a fascinating and unique insight into the turn-of-the-century lifestyle of one of the world’s most celebrated Impressionist painters. [from Google Products – Books]
Canada's First Cookbook

The Laura Secord candy company produced Canada’s first cook book in 1966, the Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book.

It periodically comes back into print.  It is well worth the effort to find it. It includes French Canadian recipes.

Good Things in England

Partly historical in nature, Florence White’s collection of centuries of English recipes was a lost classic until finally republished a decade ago

An Eccles cake. Photograph: Alamy

This Sunday’s Observer Food Monthly features a countdown of the 50 best cookbooks ever, and every day this week we’re bringing you an extract from one of them.

Buy Good Things in England

12. Good Things in England
Florence White
Jonathan Cape, 1932 (current edition published by Persephone Books

Part cookbook, part historical document.

Founder of the English Folk Cookery Association, White was one of the earliest British journalists to write about food. This pioneering collection of more than 800 recipes, some dating as far back as the 14th century, is the finest expression of White’s passion for the nation’s cookery, which she believed was “the finest in the world”. A lost classic, it was finally republished by Persephone in 1999.

From the author’s general introduction

This book is and attempt to capture the charm of England’s cookery before it is completely crushed out of existence. It is an everyday book. The recipes are simple and practical, and arranged for the convenient use of beginners as well as a speedy reference for “the accomplisht cook.”

Many collections of English recipes have been made – chiefly from books – and some gastronomic histories have been compiled by careful study of contemporary documents; but these are more or less “museum pieces”. Men and women still living have come forward and helped to compile the present collection. They have written of good things they remember eating in days gone by, and of good things made in their own homes today from recipes that have been in their families for over a century. There are so many and so varied that the present volume is merely a small instalment of out kitchen and stillroom riches. England does not know her wealth.


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