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OP: Vegetarian Epicure

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by Anna Thomas

Alfred A. Knopf, 1972. Hardcover. Very Good. First printing. 

Vegetarian cookbooks, both self-published and issued by large houses, boomed in the 1970s, slowly creeping their way into the mainstream. Vegetarianism was then still deeply rooted in the counterculture, and its proponents were passionate and political, both in life and in diet. The cookbooks, even those picked up by major publishers, had the DIY soul of these nonconformist communities. After Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet (1971), Anna Thomas’s The Vegetarian Epicure (1972) led the pack.

As a film school undergrad in California at the time, Anna Thomas (1948– ) may not have seemed the most likely candidate for prestigious publishing house Knopf. Editor Judith Jones, however, knew the cultural attitude toward vegetarianism was turning favorably, and Thomas’s enthusiasm for the bounties, not the deprivations, of the plant world made her the perfect ambassador.

With dishes like steamed Jerusalem artichokes in a mayonnaise dressing, asparagus souffle with dill sauce, cheese enchiladas, chestnut soup, and kolokithya (squash-stuffed) dolmades, it is no wonder that The Vegetarian Epicure remains in print with a loyal following, many of them second or third generation converts to the book.

Our copy’s book block is Very Good, clean and unmarked, though the tan paper stock is toning heavily. The case shows shelfwear and sun bleaching about the edges. The dust jacket is present and intact with minor chipping at the head of the spine and light liquid damage. Scarce in hardcover. First printing.

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