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OP: Clementine In the Kitchen (1988 revised edition)

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by Phineas Beck [Samuel Chamberlain]
Regular price $40.00

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David R. Godine, Boston, 1988. Near Fine in Very Good Minus jacket. Third edition thus.

Artist and printmaker Samuel Chamberlain (1895–1975) is most remembered among our crowd for his gastronomic writing, largely focused on the cuisines of Italy and France. His earliest work on that subject was first published, under the pen name Phineas Beck, as a series of articles beginning with the second ever issue of Gourmet magazine in February 1941. 

Chamberlain writes a thinly veiled autobiographical tale of his American family’s time spent in France between the world wars and eventual escape to Boston in 1939. The true heroine of the story, however, is their Burgundian cook, Clementine, employed by the “Becks” for over a decade. The jovial accounts of the cook’s culinary prowess and kitchen adventures, further enlivened by Henry Stahlhut’s illustrations, was compiled and published in 1943. 

Herein you will find such lively tales as Clementine harvesting snails from the family garden followed by their crafty escape from cardboard box and quick domination of the kitchen. A recipe for escargots de Bourgogne follows. 

Once stateside, conflict erupts as the “red-cheeked cuisinière” adjusts to the language and culture of New England—particularly humorous is an account of her argument with the local butcher who refused to cut beef in the French fashion as she demanded. The Becks never fully recovered their relationship with the butcher and opted to purchase their beef elsewhere.

Recipes, written in prose, can be found throughout, as well as in the “extracts from Clementine’s notebook” found at the end. 

We offer here the utterly charming Clementine in the 1988 edition revised by Chamberlain's daughter, Narcisse. The revision notably updates the recipe section at the rear to the simpler, everyday dishes typically consumed in the Beck household. Chamberlain favored grander, showier dishes in the original printing. Our copy is clean and unused, though the dust jacket is price clipped and showing shelfwear from long shelving.

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