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OP: The Bel Canto Cookbook

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by Peter Gravina

Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964. Hardcover. Very Good Minus in Fair jacket. First printing.

Long sought and loved by musicians and others endeared to artistic pursuits, The Bel Canto Cookbook (1964) is a celebration of the love affair opera stars have with fine cuisine. Written by WNYC broadcaster and publicist Peter Gravina, it conjures legends with dishes that bear their names—Caruso sauce, peach Melba, chicken Tetrazzini. This is a testament to the natural affinity between chefs and the famous stars they entertain. 

From aperitifs to desserts, vegetables, meats, and pastas, every recipe is attributed to one of the great mid-century stars, either from their own kitchens or from restaurants they favored. Anecdotes and black and white photographs lend personality and good humor to the collection, giving it enduring relevance and historical value. 

This first printing copy is in Very Good Minus condition, bearing an occasional, persistent grease stain, which carries through a number of pages. A previous owner’s name is penned to the front pastedown. What remains of the jacket, printed on rather flimsy stock, is soiled and missing a good deal of paper, particularly on the front and the spine. The flaps have detached. We have put the jacket in a mylar sleeve to protect from further damage.

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