The Cookbook Library is an eminently readable and informative survey of the development of European (and North American) culinary literature from antiquity until the early nineteenth century, from Greek and Roman texts to Antonin Carême. The project, inspired by Anne Willan and Mark Cherniavsky’s extensive personal cookbook library, draws on Willan’s considerable professional cookery expertise: in addition to setting up her own cookery school in Paris, La Varenne, in 1975, Willan has published extensively on French cookery and is a leading authority on the subject. But this is much more than a catalogue of an indisputably fine private collection. It covers the subject broadly, way beyond the confines of the couple’s own substantial holdings and their linguistic comfort.
Anne Willan, Mark Cherniavsky, and Kyri Claflin: The Cookbook Library
The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook
by Anne Willan, Mark Cherniavsky, and Kyri Claflin
University of California Press (Inbooks), $75 hb, 340 pp, 9780520244009
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Christopher Menz is a former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia (2005–10) and in 2011–12 was Acting Director of The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne. Prior to these roles, he held curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the National Gallery of Victoria, specialising in decorative arts. He has published extensively on the decorative arts, notably the design work of William Morris, and is a regular contributor to ABR.
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