Food Reporting Syllabus
Assignments 25 through 30
The Escoffier Cook Book
A Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery
by Auguste Escoffier
Crown Publishers

NOTE: The Escoffier Cook Book is the American edition
of the great French Master Chef's world famous Guide
. It is more than a direct translation, however, for
everything is stated in American terms and according to
American usage. Meet Master Chef Escoffier.

Auguste Escoffier

escoffier cook book

I Don't Do Salt Cod
by Maggie 7 Maverick
© 2012

Personal chef Maggie 7 Maverick keyboards Internet recipes when in a hurry. But, time permitting, she thumbs through the 96 ink-on-paper resources on this website.

What better source for basics, for history than writings of Auguste Escoffier (1846 - 1935), the French chef who sets the tone for this syllabus.

Chef Maggie Mav cites as good reading...turtle sauce: "Calls for 'a little truffle essence'...yes, and straining through fine linen." Nice to know, she says, but doubtful she'll be preparing fried turtle in her current life. Auguste loved truffles throughout the 922 pages.

About his affinity for truffles. His recipes called for tuber truffles. New food writers, emphasis on tuber, those of the first meaning (*) given by Noah Webster, not Hershey or Valrhona.

New food writers should take Escoffier's lesson in salads. There as no such vague disaster as a chef's salad. There are no listings for a Greek salad, a legitimate item in Greece where natives avoid all lettuces in salads. As for veggie trash menu items, remember that old bit...the chef should have kept it in the kitchen.

Read between the Escoffier pages: Zero mention of iceberg lettuce. An opinion: One good reason for the zero factor, Mother Nature did not create iceberg lettuce. That was one of man's ill-conceived products that can be farm raised on the cheap in huge quanities and marketed to ill-advised shoppers.

Long ago serious food writers looked with disdain when it came to iceberg. Nutritional value is near zero. As a result romain has benefited at produce counters. It is on record that one restaurant reviewer decades ago typed this goody: Iceberg lettuce has all the nutritional value of ceiling tile.

When Escoffier penned anything relating to lettuce, he referenced his use of cabbage, endive in all the varieties and nationalities, kale and edibile vine leaves. Cabbage in his century came in bulky heads. At least cabbage has nutritional values.

Chef Maggie Mav in closing: "How refreshing...not one mention of the words pizza, hamburger or microwave."

(*) Fleshy, edible, potato-shaped fungi grown underground and usually, in France, rooted out by trained pigs.

Bonus 32:
Ma Gastronomie
by Fernand Point with Thomas Keller Foreword
Flammarion, Publisher, First Edition (1969)
First French Edition: 1969
English Edition: 2008
© 1969

In Lyon this is the Foie Gras Bible.
In Paris this is a classic in French gastronomy.
In Point's gratin of crawfish, cognac is his secret ingredient.
In the Carolinas only the tapioca recipe was understood.
In Chicago chef Jean Banchet replicated Point's teachings.
In the original Guide Michelin, Point was a three-star chef.
In fry cook circles Point symlifies Escoffier.
In pro chef kitchens, Ma Gastronomie presides.
In home kitchens, best to stick with Betty Crocker.
In Cookbook-Keeper advisories: Buy this book.
In Parisian gossip circles, Madame Point was his brain.
In USA, Point's biggest celebrity fan: Charlie Trotter.
In dropping names of real French master chefs,
the Fernand Point apprentices included such as Paul Bocuse, Alain Chapel, Perrier and the Troisgros brothers, Jean and Pierre.

In Lawrence J. Konis' (*) opinion: "I feel sorry for the reviewer who was not inspired by this little book."

In a food syllabus for reviewers, this is Book 25 Bonus. (*) book reviewer

Hawaiian and Pacific Foods
A Cook Book of Culinary Customs and Recipes
by Katherine Bazore
Gramercy Publishing Co.,
Division of Crown Publishers, Inc.,
by arrangement with William Morrow & Co.
© 1940 and 1947

Professor Bazore was a native of Ohio, a graduate of the Ohio State University and taught in the home economics departments in several universities prior to entering the same department at the University of Hawaii. There she started researching the foods of Hawaii and the Pacific region, today known as the Pacific Rim. This, her first book, became the authoritative cook book of the Pacific region and was recognized as a source book for librarians and teachers and a guide for epicures and gourmands. This and her second book became the recipe guide in the 1950s when the Mainland became flush with Polynesian restaurants, the Trader Vic's across the nation and the Kahiki in Columbus, her hometown.

Click: Where the word fusion in food has meaning...


Bonus 33:
Fruits of Hawaii: Description, Nutritive Value, and Recipes
by Carey D. Bazore, Katherine Bartow, and Mary L. Miller
University of Hawaii Press
© 1965

Content Pending.

The Taste of America
by John L. Hess and Karen Hess (*)
University of Illinois Press
© 1977

At time of his passing in 2005 this former New York Times reporter, foreign correspondent and food editor, was described in his obituary as food critic, not reviewer. This epic of 416 pages spared little when it came to all aspects of the food world. He detested the word gourmet. He was a bit tough when it came to food world legends, Julia Child and Ruth Reichl. And he was a bit unkind when it came to his former employer, The Times. Thus, understand why another of his books is offered herein as a bonus for student writers.

(*) Karen Hess, his wife, also produced a shelf load of historical cookbooks. See below for a partial listing.


Bonus 34:
My Times: A Memoir of Dissent
by John L. Hess
Seven Stories Press
© 2003

This is not a food book per se, It is a critical look of the John Hess career at The Times, 1954-1978. During those years he paid his dues as a reporter, rewrite man, foreign correspondent, investigative reporter and food critic. The latter as food editor with the added assignment as critic. In the trade of visiting restaurants and writing about them, Hess is generally credited with knowing the difference between being a food reviewer and a critic.

After departing The Times, Hess became something of a media watchdog. Once while attending a New Orleans conclave of food scientists, after he was off the Times payroll, he was almost abrupt when introducing himself to those he was covering. Always, he said, he is a critic...not a reporter.

Publisher's Weekly heaped the most praise on Hess: "His remembrances should be required reading for journalism students."

My Times a Memoir of Dissent
Bonus 35:
Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats
by Karen Hess
University of Illinois Press
© 1996

Did Martha Washington really cook? Content Pending

Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery
Bonus 36:
The Carolina Rice Kitchen
by Karen Hess
University of South Carolina
© 1992

Karen Loft Hess (1918-2007) was an American culinary historian who along with husband John L. Hess became serious anti-establishment members of the culinary world. She was one of the founding members of the Culinary Historians of New York.

Carolina Rice Kitchen
Star Bonus 4:
Woodstove Cookery: At Home on the Range
by Jane Cooper
Garden Way Publishing
© 1977
Ikea it ain't.

By all reasoning this 196-pager is a pot full of nostalgia. Fried chicken as intended. Brunswick stew throwback. Dutch oven recipes enough to make you want to buy a wood burner. There's a recipe for soap making, though there may be a shrunken need today for potash lye soap.

Further reasoning is that the few remaining manufacturers of cast iron wood burning cook stoves may have had a hand in getting this tome into print. Regardless, at first read food
writers will be asking if Jane Cooper's wonderful research should be into reprints. From the audience: Yes.

Reasoning for including into this syllabus: The first 76 pages detail the care and feeding of a wood burning in-home monster from the past. Stash all thoughts of Ikea. Woodburners are out there in antique shops. Ms. Cooper does list a couple of sources... though this book dates back to the 1970s. Just for the hell of it, suggest Amazon get into the woodburning stove business.

Lastly for food writers, the pen and ink sketches of content... excellent, informative, reflective. Even mouthwatering should a reader have any pleasant memory of early last century.

Where to get wood: Page 39.

Potash lye soap, page 191.

Parched corn, page 187.

Summer squash fritters, page 87.

Amazon avails search circa 2013: 45 used from $3.23.
Woodstove Cookery
Bonus 37:
The Horn of Plenty
by Peggy Harvey
Little, Brown and Company, Publishers
© 1964

Authored by a connouisseur of cookery; a word picture of cookbooks from the first sixty years of the last century, the food names may be familiar and are worthy of study.

The Horn of Plenty

Popeye in a Coffin
e.Coli Claims Its First Celebrity Death
The funeral is Tuesday

The Jungle
by Upton Sinclair
Barnes & Noble Books
© 1995
As a novel the first copyright was in 1906, a year after it was published in serial form in the Socialist newspaper Appeal To Reason. It was based on undercover work done by Sinclair, He spent seven weeks working incognito in a Chicago meatpacking plant. He had five rejections from publishers who found the subject too shocking. He self-published the first edition which led to acceptance by Doubleday, Page & Co. The book has remained in print ever since.
More on Wikipedia
Praise Upton Sinclair: The good-guy food
manufacturers adhere to the safety regulations...

Status Report by Jeff Hollenback,
R&D, Glory Foods

Food manufacturers are a lot like restaurants. You have lots (the majority) who abide by the spirit and the letter of the law. You have a few that do not and get the media attention. Glory Foods by definition is a small food company. We can, on 30 minutes notice, determine where a single can of food was made, what minute of the day it was produced. We can review the QA and plant production records. We know the field location from which the agricultural product was harvested. We will know the herbicides and pesticides that were used during the growing cycle. We will know the manufacturers of the ingredients that were used in the batch of brine that was used and when the ingredients for the brine were blended. We are required and test ourselves on a monthly basis( not required but something any responsible company does) to be able to trace to the first distribution point with 100 percent accuracy and 100 percent of any product made during a particular hour, day or week of time.

Maybe it is time to talk about how safe our food is compared to anywhere else in the world.

— Jeff Hollenback

Jeff Hollenback, Glory Foods
Jeff Hollenback,
Glory Foods
Three recommended reads for food writing students seriously interested in the history of the Great Depression ...
America 1929-1941
The Great Depression
by Robert S. McElvaine
Three Rivers Press
© 1984, 1993

This well-researched book is an excellent choice for serious students of this nation's most dismal period. Bottom line: An entire nation starving to death at the hands of self-serving politicians. Factually brilliant, this 400 heavy pager is not for study in this fast-paced countryside of electronic tablets responding to touch of a finger tip. While the titled story is there, that story's continuity has been smothered by a printer's format that is devoid of what it takes today for eyeball tracking: Subheads, bold facing, paragraph indexing, any small sketching intended to give a reader pause to take a breath.

Proof, although not by a computerized word count, paragraphs flirt with a total of 243 words.

A plus: A detail researched treasure for anyone lucid and alive with a memory of 20th Century's darkest days...years.

A plus: Page 135 detailing how the 1933 "lame duck" Congress was "the worst" for favoring Herbert Hoover's policies rather than those proposed by F.D.R.

The minus: The full text appears to be an edited version of galley proofs rushed to a bindery without ever seeing a graphics designer.

The Great Depression

And now for two updates of readability favoring students of that Great Depression.

Additional Reads For Diligent Students...


Cotton Tenants: Three Families
by James Agee with John Summers
Photography: Walker Evans
Publisher: Melville House
c 2013 New Edition

(Originally published in 1936 by Fortune Magazine)
Described June 2013 by The New York Times as "A Paean to Forbearance (the Rough Draft)"
Amazon's book description: A re-discovered masterpiece of reporting by a literary icon and a celebrated photographer.

... above sourced from the original ...

Cotton Tenants

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
The American Classic, In Words and Photographs, of Three Tenant Families In the Deep South
by James Agee
Photography: Walker Evans
Publisher: Mariner Books
c 2001

(Originally published 1941; a visual history of abject poverty in the South with emphasis on the photography of Walker Evans)

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Bonus 38:
It Was Probably Something You Ate: A Practical Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Food-borne Illness
by Nichols Fox
Penguin Books

Content Pending

It Was Probably Something You Ate
Bonus 39:
Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick
by Nichols Fox
Penguin Books
© 1998

Urp. Slurp. Burp. Content Pending

Star Bonus 5:
Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal
by Melanie Warner
© 2013

Manufactured cuisine. Content Pending

Star Bonus 6:
Salt Sugar Fat:
How the Food Giants Hooked Us
by Michael Moss
Random House
© 2013

Blame it on the food giants. Review Pending

Salt Sugar Fat

Bonus 41:
Gulp, Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
by Mary Roach
W. W. Norton and Company
© 2013

Tripping through the Alimentary Canal. Content Pending

Southern Belly: A Food Lover's Companion
Algonquin Books
© 2007

Review Pending


Bonus 42:
Southern Food & Plantation Houses
Lee Bailey
Clarkson Potter
© 1989

An elderly cuisine: Southern Something. Content Pending

Bonus 43:
The Pioneer Woman Cooks;
Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl
by Ree Drummond
William Morrow & Company Cookbooks
© 1985

The author's introduction is a question: What do we eat? She is a historian of American eating habits. As such, and up front, she promises to answer her "potentially grumpy critics," thus proving that oft-mentioned bit credited at times to Johnny Carson that when it comes to restaurants, "everyone is a critic." For quick research grabbers, start with the six-page index. Then it is more of a fun read than for research.

Bonus 44:
The Pioneer Woman Cooks;
Food From My Frontier
by Ree Drummond
William Morrow & Company
© 2012

More Ree as the pioneer woman over a hot stove. Content Pending

Bonus 45:
The Happy Table of Eugene Walter
Southern Spirits in Food and Drink
edited by Don Goodman and Thomas Head
University of North Carolina Press
© 2011

Eugene Walter, a movie script waiting to happen. Review Pending

Edible Landscaping
Home Landscaping With Food-Bearing Plants
by Rosalind Creasy
Sierra Club Books
© 1982

Euell Gibbons didn't have a thing to do with this textbook. It is important for food writers to acquaint themselves with Euell, but only for reference material. The man, let's stretch a bit and call him a naturalist who wanted to be a writer more than an outdoorsman. In the latter class he was a serious proponent of natural diets. As such he thought getting published was a matter of putting words to paper and sending to some publisher. Not the case. Already published in several magazines, he finally sold a script, Stalking the Wild Asparagus. He had a big seller and that led to appearances on several television shows. But, he became the butt of jokes... like he was chewing on fence posts, that he lived on a diet of wood chips, that he may die of Dutch Elm disease. Still, he was making money and chewing all the way to the bank. Now, you have background.

Enter Rosalind Creasy and her masterful association with the Sierra Club. Her book is almost three decades old. It has been a textbook for all that time. It will be in coming decades.

Edible Landscape is not a recipe book. It offers an in-depth study of hundreds of plants, all familiar on a plate, but here is the growing background, how to purchase, plant, seasons, harvesting, and problems with pests and diseases. From her writing, I boned up on okra, a favorite. I know that okra, like the olive, is usually an acquired taste. And that it is good in a seafood or chicken gumbo. That I knew. I did not know okra is a tall, upright plant up to six feet. I will think about Ms. Creasy the next time I have a platter of fried okra battered in corn meal, salt and pepper.

My 378-page copy is one of my keepers. Ms. Creasy autographed my copy to my wife: "To Susie, from her most unbotanical husband, welcome to the Edible Landscape.
Rosalind Creasy."

I do not run a lending library.
— Doral Chenoweth


Bonus 46:
The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening

Read, study, then write the language of organic gardening. Content Pending

Bonus 47:
Organic, Inc.:
Natural Foods and How They Grew
Samuel Fromartz
© 2006

There's dollars in them thar organics. Content Pending

Bonus 48:
Secrets of Companion Planting,
Carrots Love Tomatoes & Roses Love Garlic
by Louise Riotte
Storey Publishing
© 2004

Underground love affairs...companion plantings. Content Pending