Monday, July 25, 2016

Teen Cuisine: A Beginner's Guide to French Cooking

Wow.  Just look at that cover.  You can tell what caught my eye, can't you?  I probably shouldn't have made the picture quite so large, but I couldn't resist.  That's about half the actual size of the book right now.  It's soooooooo pretty!

Yup, I like Peter Max.  And this book came out when Peter Max was HUGE.  1969, when he was featured on the cover of Life magazine with the heading "Peter Max: Portrait of the artist as a very rich man." (Thank you, Wikipedia.)  So how did Peter Max wind up doing the cover and some interior art for a so-so (but perfectly serviceable) French cookbook aimed at teens, published by Parents' Magazine Press?  My guess?  Somebody knew somebody. Exciting, huh?

According to the back cover, Abby Gail Hirsch was operating a cooking school and living in Chappaqua, New York, having attended at least two colleges and three cooking schools. According to the Library of Congress and a review by Poppy Cannon, she collaborated on a 1970 release, A Cookbook for Lovers.  And a couple of advertisements I found online say that she had the Abby Gail Hirsch Gourmet Center, Ltd., at least in 1973-4. 

Our other author, Sandra Bangilsdorf Klein is also well-educated, graduating from Cornell having spent her junior year at the Sorbonne (in Paris, as the cover text explains). "She has worked for several advertising agencies, writing copy for teen-age cosmetics."  At the time of release, she was living in Connecticut.  So...French connection, can speak to the kids...not much else.  Nada that I could find online.

Honestly, of the three collaborators here, Peter Max steals the show.  Yes, you have all of the basic French recipes you would expect in a 1969 cookbook.  And they've written them in a way that anyone could follow.  But....  "I'm sure the recipes are fine but what's really awesome are Max's saturated, full-bleed gradient silk screened pages. They're not all printed this way, but when they're not, and it's a white page, the type is silkscreened in gradient. Wow." (Link to WaryMeyers, whose words I'm borrowing. They have better photos too.)

Check these out!

The interior illustrations are not as fine as the cover, but the way the book has been printed to suit his style really makes it pretty.  Funky. Groovy. Trippy. Marketable toward the youth of 1969.

I think the only recipe in here that I have used was their recipe for crêpes, which gives a long and detailed description of the method.  So instead, I give you their recipe for one of my husband's favorite sandwiches as a kid. Whether this bears any resemblance to what he had in 1970's Wisconsin, I have no idea.

Croque Monsieur
French Toasted Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
(Makes six servings)

3/4 cup butter or margarine
12 thin slices white bread
6 thin slices cooked ham
6 thin slices Gruyère or Swiss cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons milk

Use half the butter to spread on one side of each slice of bread after removing the crusts. Make six sandwiches using 1 slice each of the ham and cheese for each sandwich. Be sure the buttered sides of the bread are inside.

Beat the milk and eggs together. Cut the sandwiches in half and dip in the egg-milk mixture.

Melt remaining butter in a large skillet and sauté the sandwich halves over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot. To Serve: Garnish with ripe olives and sprigs of watercress.

Teen Cuisine at

No comments:

Post a Comment