Summary Of The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook – Essay Example

The Alice B .Toklas Cookbook Alice B.Toklas is famous for her book ‘The Alice B.Toklas Cookbook’ published in 1954 which illustrates the preparation of numerous recipes. It is not simply a cookbook but an autobiography that narrates the remarkable events of meals shared with famous personalities and the relationship between two women; Alice B.Toklas and Gertrude Stein.
The third chapter ‘Dishes of Artists’ describes Toklas’ dining experience with Picasso and Francis Picabia (29-33). The chapter would raise the interests of food historians as it clearly narrates the eating habits of these two personalities and the French in common. This chapter also contains the detailed description Toklas’ interpersonal relationship with others, and how it helped her pursue the experiments on cooking.
The next chapter ‘Murder in the Kitchen’ (37-46) begins with a highly interesting narration of Toklas’ first experience of killing a crap in the kitchen. According to her, each cooking involves the horror of a deliberate murder and inevitability. She further explains the process of preparing special dishes like ‘crap stuffed with chestnuts,’ noodles, and ‘braised pigeons on croutons’, duck with orange sauce, Sacher Torte, Linzer Torte, Gypsy Goulash, and Tender Tart. In addition to the knowledge of delicious dishes, the chapter gives us a vivid account of the cultural aspects of the French society during the period.
The chapter ‘Treasures’ begins with Toklas’ memories on breakfasts she used to have during early childhood in San Francisco. Toklas describes how her mother’s cook Nora made different kinds of food including Soufflé Fritters and ice creams. As it is in all other chapters, she has given a well-description on some new items in this chapter too. These ‘treasures’, as Toklas names them (the knowledge about various recipes) included Scheherazade’s Melon, Alice’s Cookies, Nameless Cookies and others (97-98).
In short, Toklas’ book is unique for its autobiographical anecdote that preserves the readability of the work throughout the entire chapters. Toklas’ words could clearly express her outlook on life and food preparation; “What is sauce for the goose may be sauce for the gander but is not necessarily sauce for the chicken, duck, the turkey or the guinea hen”.
Works Cited
Toklas A B., Fisher M F K. The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. The Lyons Press, 1998.