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OP: Loaves and Fishes Cookbook (first printing)

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by Anna Pump

There’s one thing that can be said for those Americans who used to allow themselves to be known as “foodies.” No question, they are captivated by sophisticated fine dining and great wines, with periodic excursions into showy cosmopolitanism (“You would not believe the camphor-scented broths we encountered when we were trekking in the eastern Himalayas”). 

But they are, also, more than capable of easing up and taking their pleasure from good, simple foods. A sturdy bowl of chili, bagels and lox, chicken salad, spaghetti and meatballs, butterscotch pudding—eatables they can enjoy without having to analyze, critique, and speak about with flourishes of wit and wisdom.

A great contribution to that satisfying international hash we call American Cuisine was the emergence in the late 1970s and 1980s of shops, restaurants, and brands that offered quality without pretense—stuff you could feed on in perfect comfort. The epic leader in this trend was that miniature juggernaut known as the Silver Palate. And another, which gave rise to the book we offer here, was a “gourmet” shop in East Hampton, New York, known as Loaves and Fishes. 

Helmed since the early 1980s by an energetic German-born cook named Anna Pump (1934–2015) it fed—and indeed continues to do so—an affluent clientele, who craved food they could sit back and enjoy after a hard day at the beach. Quality dishes, with occasional special touches, but mostly just nice

There are fresh peas with dill; clams and sausages in parsley sauce; crushed wheat with vegetables and mint; raspberry tea bread; apricot mousse. To be sure, there are international influences, which had become a presence in the American palate—couscous with almonds, a paella salad, cold sesame noodles—but all with characteristic unstuffiness and sometimes with sparks of luxury—potato salad with lobster—though utterly lacking in pretense.

An attractive book sporting decorative illustrations, it is filled with appealing headnotes, sidebars, and little essays, some of a pleasant personal nature. It has had a great following, far beyond the New York area, and although a paperback remains in print more than 35 years after its publication, the original hardcover is frequently requested. This copy we offer is a first printing in Near Fine condition, including the jacket.

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