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OP: In Pursuit of Flavor

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by Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis (1916–2006) is one of the most recognized figures of modern American cooking. She was a venerable restaurant chef and through her cookbooks she established Southern cooking as a strongly rooted and nuanced culinary tradition. Originally from rural Virginia, Lewis ultimately came to co-own and cook at New York’s Café Nicolson until the late 1950s and, later, cooked at Brooklyn’s Gage and Tollner. 

Her first book, The Edna Lewis Cookbook (1972), favors her professional career with occasional hints at her southern roots. Her second, The Taste of Country Cooking (1976), embraces the foods of the South. In this, her third book (1988), Lewis employs knowledge, both from her childhood and from her fine dining background, to emphasize the importance of quality, seasonal ingredients, and purposeful cooking techniques to draw out the best flavor in any dish.

The recipes show Lewis’ remarkable range, from simple home cooking to complicated restaurant fare: 

  • roast pheasant with currant or gooseberry sauce
  • sauerkraut with pork sausage and whipped potatoes
  • catfish stew
  • deviled crab
  • herring poached in white wine and served in a garlic and tarragon cream sauce 
  • Ethiopian bread—flavored with turmeric and caraway
  • whiskey cake
  • île flottante with raspberry preserves and spun sugar
  • and an impressive array of pies and tarts

We are pleased offer here a later printing* of the original 1988 Knopf edition in Very Good Plus condition with a Very Good jacket, showing only some minor wear and small closed tears around the edges. Good cooking. 

*While there is no number line on our volume, and 1988 is the only date present, “first edition” is clearly stated on the copyright page of those true first printing copies. 

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