OP: From a Breton Garden
One of the most memorable figures to appear in twentieth-century American culinary culture was a brilliant, eccentric, magnetic woman named Josephine Araldo (1897–1989). She fed her clients, won the hearts of her students, and inspired her colleagues.
Born in rural Brittany, she gardened from childhood and learned to use what she grew to make food that “tasted like itself.” Although formally trained, her kitchen work was far from orthodox. Brilliantly instinctive, she knew when to follow the rules and when to take off and fly.
From a Breton Garden was published posthumously in 1990 with the aid of chef and restaurateur Robert Reynolds. Reynolds was drawn to Araldo’s thoughtful and intuitive methods for getting the most out of fruits and vegetables—an instinct perhaps fueled by the rugged and resourceful nature of Bretons.
The recipes are first divided into those regions of the world that influenced Araldo—starting with Brittany where the dishes are most rustic, moving to Paris where she studied under great chefs like Henri-Paul Pellaprat, and finally ending in California where she taught and influenced the likes of Alice Waters and Marion Cunningham. Each section is then subdivided by primary vegetable ingredient.
The recipes, though largely simple and straightforward, are striking in their inventiveness. We might mention the onions stuffed with fresh apricots, kidneys, rice, herbs, and cheese—a suggested side dish to lamb of any preparation. Perhaps a lettuce custard, seductive in its delicate subtlety, or aromatic parsnips glazed in hearty veal stock. There is enough here to keep vegetable cookery far from stale.We are offering a hardcover first printing in Near Fine condition, inclusive of the dust jacket. The only flaw appears to be a light stain affecting the final 5 pages or so. Gary Bukovnik’s pencil illustrations add to the overall appeal of this fantastic work.