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'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:42 pm

My mom bought a few of them when I was a kid, and I kept them when she died. I was just a teenager, but I already knew I wanted to cook and held onto what had been hers. But she only had four books--Italy, Spain and Portugal, Provence and the Middle East--I have no idea if she cherry picked what were to her the most interesting topics or if you were even able to do that vs. subscribing to the whole thing like a Book of the Month club. But whichever it was, at first I treasured them because they were mom's, and eventually I grew in my culinary knowledge and came to appreciate the books because they are such fabulous reference works, and I refer to them fairly often. Somewhere over the years someone gave me two more--I've always meant to hunt down the rest of the series but never have.

So today I was over at a friend's house. He's a greatly skilled cook (and something of a hoarder) who for health reasons can't do the kind of cooking he used to, and his wife has put the edict on him to unload the things he never uses. He's going to hold a garage sale tomorrow but gave me first right of refusal today. And guess what? He had six of these books, and all with the precious spiral recipe-only companion books, and only one of his six was one of the six I already had!

I am a happy girl!

Oh, the dupe I have is the Chinese book. If anyone wants it, I'll happily send it to you.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Carl Eppig » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:10 pm

We have the whole set in hard cover and spiral recipe books. Use them all the time.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:12 pm

Carl, how many is the whole set? I looked at a few of my books and none have a comprehensive list. I'm sure it's out there on the internet somewhere.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:23 pm

Okay, got 'em. Here's the list, from Wikipedia. It claims there are 27 but I have to say this list/count might be in error, as there's a 'Cooking of the Middle East' *and* a 'Middle Eastern Cooking' (what I have) listed. I also see a 'Cooking of China' where my book is titled 'Chinese Cooking', which doesn't get a dual listing.


African Cooking[1]
American Cooking[2]
American Cooking : Creole and Acadian[3]
American Cooking : The Eastern Heartland[4]
American Cooking : The Great West[5]
American Cooking : The Melting Pot[6]
American Cooking : New England[7]
American Cooking : The Northwest[8]
American Cooking : Southern Style[9]
Classic French Cooking[10]
Cooking of the British Isles[11]
Cooking of the Caribbean Islands[12]
Cooking of China[13]
Cooking of Germany[14]
Cooking of India[15]
Cooking of Italy[16]
Cooking of Japan[17]
Cooking of the Middle East
Cooking of Provincial France[18]
Cooking of Scandinavia[19]
Cooking of Spain and Portugal[20]
Cooking of Vienna's Empire[21]
Latin American Cooking[22]
Middle Eastern Cooking[23]
Pacific and Southeast Asian Cooking[24]
Quintet of Cuisines[25]
Russian Cooking[26]
Wines and Spirits[27]
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Karen/NoCA » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:19 pm

Jenise if the Chinese cookbook has not been spoken for, I would love to have it. I took six weeks of Chinese cooking classes in the home of a well respected cook here in town. The classes were wonderful and everything was authentic.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Carl Eppig » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:21 pm

There are 27, if you look closely they did not "count" Cooking of the Middle East.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Robin Garr » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:59 pm

I remember having some of those books and loving them, as a young adult just learning to cook. Do they seem at all dated now, Jenise? They were great then, but it was really hard to get unusual ingredients "between the coasts" in the '70s.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Tom NJ » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:18 pm

I have 22 of the hardbound books, but only 2 of the small spiral recipe books (Italy and Japan). I got the whole set for 5 dollars about 20 years ago when our local library was doing a sell-off. They're some of the most fascinating books I've ever read, regardless of subject. The M.F.K. Fisher penned French volume is brilliant of course, but some of the others gave insights into (for me) lesser known areas. The Africa volume was a particular standout in that regard, but the German and Southeast Asia books were also a tour de force of great writing and revelation. I can't say enough about the whole series, and I hope I find the volumes I'm missing sometime before I die.

In a way, they remind me of the early Gourmet Magazine books by Samuel Chamberlain: "Bouquet de France" and "Italian Bouquet". Both are insights into not just the foods of each region, but into peoples and culture as each starts the climb back to normalcy following the mayhem of WWII.
"He ordered as one to the Menu born...."
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:00 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:Jenise if the Chinese cookbook has not been spoken for, I would love to have it. I took six weeks of Chinese cooking classes in the home of a well respected cook here in town. The classes were wonderful and everything was authentic.


No, no one else has asked so it's yours. PM me your snail address.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:08 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I remember having some of those books and loving them, as a young adult just learning to cook. Do they seem at all dated now, Jenise? They were great then, but it was really hard to get unusual ingredients "between the coasts" in the '70s.


Yes and no. The documentation of culinary methods and traditions and how they came to be is, of course, timeless. The recipes are only dated, and this varies from book to book depending on the author, in the way that some ingredients which might be authentic as we understand such today were left out or substituted because, in 1961, you could not buy jalapenos or even any hot fresh pepper, just for instance, at every grocery store in the land. As you suggest.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:23 pm

Tom NJ wrote:I have 22 of the hardbound books, but only 2 of the small spiral recipe books (Italy and Japan). I got the whole set for 5 dollars about 20 years ago when our local library was doing a sell-off. They're some of the most fascinating books I've ever read, regardless of subject. The M.F.K. Fisher penned French volume is brilliant of course, but some of the others gave insights into (for me) lesser known areas. The Africa volume was a particular standout in that regard, but the German and Southeast Asia books were also a tour de force of great writing and revelation. I can't say enough about the whole series, and I hope I find the volumes I'm missing sometime before I die.

In a way, they remind me of the early Gourmet Magazine books by Samuel Chamberlain: "Bouquet de France" and "Italian Bouquet". Both are insights into not just the foods of each region, but into peoples and culture as each starts the climb back to normalcy following the mayhem of WWII.


It's cool that you appreciate these books as much as I do. Good luck finding the missing books--you might end up finding the pot of gold at a neighbor's house, like I did. And Vic only wanted $2 each set! (Hardbound + spiral.) Wonder what they go for on eBay?
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Robin Garr » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:43 pm

Jenise wrote:Yes and no. The documentation of culinary methods and traditions and how they came to be is, of course, timeless. The recipes are only dated, and this varies from book to book depending on the author, in the way that some ingredients which might be authentic as we understand such today were left out or substituted because, in 1961, you could not buy jalapenos or even any hot fresh pepper, just for instance, at every grocery store in the land. As you suggest.

Well, I did love the books and learned a lot. As I recall, they also looked great with amazing photos. I'm recalling a chinese soup in a melon pot that made an amazing photo.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:38 pm

Robin, since answering you and looking at what's for sale on ebay (literally all the books, and reasonably priced), I've had another thought about 'dated'. There's a whole subset on American cooking within this set, and I had never laid eyes on one of those until getting one of them from Vic yesterday--all my books were the international versions. All are surely 'dated' when compared to the way we cook today and minus our adoption of healthier habits. But at the same time they would appear to wonderfully, if unintentionally, record and preserve, at what was about the last moment possible to do so, the regional differences in American cooking before Bon Appetit and Gourmet created a collective desire for the same ingredients and Kraft Foods and grocery giant Kroger made the same ingredients more or less available to all. Thirty years ago it was exciting to travel to another state and see all the amazing and exotic local products in grocery stores--but nowadays the differences are actually very minor.

We've seen that evolution in this very forum. Twenty years ago we had a lot of fun finding out we all had a different name for the same cut of steak. What I called a spencer you called a Delmonico and someone else called a shell steak and a ribeye. Now? They're all ribeyes. This big global conversation has brought understanding but it has also blurred the lines between our regional uniquenesses. I think I've just talked myself into acquiring the whole set of Americana in this series so I can remind myself of what I've forgotten before it's too late.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Tom NJ » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:58 pm

Jenise wrote: And Vic only wanted $2 each set! (Hardbound + spiral.) Wonder what they go for on eBay?


2 dollars per set! That hoarder is a good friend indeed! Congrats, and I hope you enjoy your new volumes as much as the old ones.

It's been a while since I last scoured online sources for used volumes. I should probably give it another go one of these days. The spiral books, if I recall, are the hardest to find.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Barb Downunder » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:58 pm

I love those books. I have purchased quite a few over the years, all from 2nd hand or charity shops.
Dated perhaps but still a high degree of authenticity, and a go to resource still.
If looking to fill gaps try AMazon etc, I recently was able to get a second hand copy of the Japanese set for a friend who had lent her copy and
it never came back. It was only a few dollars and her joy at the replacement worth a whole lot more.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:29 pm

Jenise, I sent you a PM with my address....thanks!
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:46 am

Tom NJ wrote:
Jenise wrote: And Vic only wanted $2 each set! (Hardbound + spiral.) Wonder what they go for on eBay?


2 dollars per set! That hoarder is a good friend indeed! Congrats, and I hope you enjoy your new volumes as much as the old ones.

It's been a while since I last scoured online sources for used volumes. I should probably give it another go one of these days. The spiral books, if I recall, are the hardest to find.


The spirals are harder to find--you rarely come across them in used book stores that might have hardcover copies. But there were quite a few on eBay--I was pleased to see how many in fact.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Carl Eppig » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:55 pm

I just perused our cookbook collection and realized that what I thought were my hard copies were another series. When we moved in '05 I donated the hard copies to the our library in Searsport, and just kept the spiral recipe books. I guess the memory's the second thing to go.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:18 pm

Carl Eppig wrote:I just perused our cookbook collection and realized that what I thought were my hard copies were another series. When we moved in '05 I donated the hard copies to the our library in Searsport, and just kept the spiral recipe books. I guess the memory's the second thing to go.


Which other series did you have, the Good Cooks series?
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:21 pm

Tom NJ wrote:I have 22 of the hardbound books, but only 2 of the small spiral recipe books (Italy and Japan). I got the whole set for 5 dollars about 20 years ago when our local library was doing a sell-off. They're some of the most fascinating books I've ever read, regardless of subject. The M.F.K. Fisher penned French volume is brilliant of course, but some of the others gave insights into (for me) lesser known areas. The Africa volume was a particular standout in that regard, but the German and Southeast Asia books were also a tour de force of great writing and revelation. I can't say enough about the whole series, and I hope I find the volumes I'm missing sometime before I die.

In a way, they remind me of the early Gourmet Magazine books by Samuel Chamberlain: "Bouquet de France" and "Italian Bouquet". Both are insights into not just the foods of each region, but into peoples and culture as each starts the climb back to normalcy following the mayhem of WWII.


Tom--look at this: someone's selling 22 spirals for about a buck each.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/22-Vintage-Time-Life-Foods-of-the-World-Spiral-Bound-Cookbooks-/290969833489?pt=US_Nonfiction_Book&hash=item43bf275011
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Tom NJ » Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:39 pm

Jenise wrote:Tom--look at this: someone's selling 22 spirals for about a buck each.


Whoa ho! Lookie that!

Thanks very much, Jenise. 23 dollars is the starting bid, which probably won't last (the auction runs the next 3 days). I'm putting in a bid anyway, and we'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll get lucky and no one else will see it :roll:

Thanks again!!

:D
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Tom NJ » Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:50 pm

Jenise wrote:Tom--look at this: someone's selling 22 spirals for about a buck each.


0.724 seconds after posting my previous reply I realized that there was a "Buy It Now" option on the eBay sale, and it was only a few dollars more than the starting bid.

I've wanted those spirals for the better part of two decades. I wasn't gonna let them go for a difference of 11 dollars.

"CLICK!"

Mine.

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Jenise » Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:44 pm

Tom NJ wrote:
Jenise wrote:Tom--look at this: someone's selling 22 spirals for about a buck each.


0.724 seconds after posting my previous reply I realized that there was a "Buy It Now" option on the eBay sale, and it was only a few dollars more than the starting bid.

I've wanted those spirals for the better part of two decades. I wasn't gonna let them go for a difference of 11 dollars.

"CLICK!"

Mine.

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D


YAY!!! And what a great deal. I went through all eight pages of the listings for books from this series, and most are about 400 percent more optimistic about their chances of getting top dollar--as if there's no competition. They'd rather sit on them--crazy.
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Re: 'Member the Time Life 'Foods of the World' books?

by Tom NJ » Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:49 pm

Now if you happen to find a used VitaMix in the 30 dollar range....

:lol:
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