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OP: The Bachelor and the Chafing Dish

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by Deshler Welch
Regular price $55.00

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Today we think of chafing dishes as those shiny trays that keep food warm at banquets and catering events. However, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, increased urbanization and decreased household staff meant more folks had to fend for themselves in smaller living spaces. Chafing dish cookery quickly, albeit briefly, became a favored technique for the modern household and a deluge of chafing dish cookbooks hit the market. 

The vessel, due to its efficiency, economy, and simplicity, proved ideal for the fashionable city-living bachelor. In 1895, Buffalo-born newspaperman Deshler Welch (1854–1920) produced his own chafing dish book for the masculine gourmand, The Bachelor and the Chafing Dish

This book is best characterized as a collection of anecdotes, occasionally punctuated by recipes, rather than as a cookbook. A well-traveled raconteur, Welch spins entertaining and humorous tales about dining and the good life that sometimes also illustrate his prowess with a chafing dish. 

The versatility of the device is most evident in the latter third of the book, where Welch focuses his discourse on recipes. You will find oyster rabbit (rarebit); turtle steak cooked in butter, mushroom ketchup, currant jelly, and port; various omelet, scrambled, fried, and poached egg preparations; pan fried veal cutlets; and Lorenzo Delmonico’s crab meat canapes. 

Our copy is dated 1986 and qualifies as a Very Good Minus. The green clothbound boards are well soiled, though the cover text and illustration are still quite bright. We had the endpapers replaced to secure the binding; leaving bound in a very touching inscription on the original front endpaper. Sturdy binding materials suggest this little gem has more life to live.

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