The Time Life Foods of the World series was an ambitious exploration of world cuisines produced from 1968 through the 1970s. The project, managed by food writer, critic, and teacher Michael Field (1915–1971), garnered even more authority with its long list of significant consultants and contributors—Craig Claiborne, Pierre Franey, Waverley Root, James Beard, Julia Child, and M.F.K. Fisher, to name a few.
Though we’d be remiss not to mention the obvious fact that the authors are predominately white and western, the series was nonetheless a serious study of the nuances, histories, and contexts in an era of rapidly expanding palates and culinary interests.
We offer here the complete set of 27 hardcover books. Each is accompanied by a corresponding spiral bound booklet, which repeats the recipes from the main volume and is designed for kitchen use while the main volume stays clean. There are also four staplebound supplements, which include additional recipes, histories, cooking basics, menu planning advice, and an index.
The titles are as follows:
- African Cooking (1970)
- American Cooking (1968)
- American Cooking: Creole and Acadian (1971)
- American Cooking: The Eastern Heartland (1971)
- American Cooking: The Great West (1971)
- American Cooking: The Melting Pot (1971)
- American Cooking: New England (1970)
- American Cooking: The Northwest (1970)
- American Cooking: Southern Style (1971)
- Classic French Cooking (1968)
- Cooking of the British Isles (1969)
- Cooking of the Caribbean Islands (1970)
- Cooking of China (1968)
- Cooking of Germany (1969)
- Cooking of India (1969)
- Cooking of Italy (1968)
- Cooking of Japan (1969)
- Cooking of Provincial France (1968)
- Cooking of Scandinavia (1968)
- Cooking of Spain and Portugal (1969)
- Cooking of Vienna's Empire (1968)
- Latin American Cooking (1968)
- Middle Eastern Cooking (1969)
- Pacific and Southeast Asian Cooking (1970)
- Quintet of Cuisines (1970)
- Russian Cooking (1969)
Wines and Spirits (1968)
It is fair to say that most of the volumes that we have seen on the secondary market have not survived unmarred by time, but ours are at least Very Good with light shelfwear. Occasional exceptions include ex-library copies, a rippled page, light fading or staining, or a handwritten title on the page edge. These are minimal, and few if any copies exhibit multiple “flaws.” We offer the set as a reference for pure enjoyment.