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OP: A Man's Cookbook

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by Raymond Oliver

French chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Raymond Oliver (1909–1990) was a bombastic personality in the 20th century food scene. Opinionated and outspoken, he rejected the mid-century trend toward cuisine nouvelle—lighter, healthier fare—in favor of the rich, heavy, and splashy dishes of France’s past. 

With his aversion to evolving culinary philosophies, it may come as no surprise that he harbored other “old-fashioned” sentiments. His New York Times obituary quotes him as having said, "No woman was ever a great cook…A woman cooks like her mother, to please a man. But when men cook, it's to please themselves. They like to experiment, to explore unknown frontiers."

Perhaps it is with this in mind that Oliver wrote A Man’s Cookbook—originally published in French in 1958. Other than the title and preface, however, the book avoids such overt misogyny and proves itself to be a genuinely instructive manual for sincere and curious cooks. It is a clear precursor to his more famous magnum opus on technique, La Cuisine (1967). 

The recipes, written in prose form, often foregoing specified quantities, assume a certain level of comfort in the kitchen while offering valuable information on technique, ingredients, and equipment. The confidence and experience of a restaurant chef at the helm is a reassurance for those readers making an ambitious foray into the kitchen.

Skewing French, the dishes range from tomato soup to coq au vin to pommes dauphine—and everything in between. Boasting four hundred recipes in a rather compact form (200 pages, 7” x 5”), it is a rewarding and handy resource for those getting serious about their cooking. 

We offer here the 1961 first American printing in Very Good Plus condition with a lightly shelfworn jacket, now protected in a mylar sleeve. The jacket bears a blue sticker and an ink smudge to the front flap.

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