It’s full of cliches like casque-helmeted policeman, the kiosk, and fleur de lis. This 1956 book is barely the size of an index card and yet it claims to be “fully illustrated.” Nonetheless, recipes like Poulet Souffle or Caneton a L’Orange are presented with admirable efficiency and a few stock photos.
Of course, they are not the marathon that would come in 1961 with Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This is more of a friendly backyard sprint. Tuck it in your purse, drive the station wagon to the A&P, and enjoy Gay Paree for dinner.
It is one of the “Handy Aid Books” published by Richards Rosen Associates, Inc. Another opportunity for nostalgia, a lost time when publishing little books like this could earn enough for a place in the city, a summer home upstate, and funds to raise two sons. The author, Ruth Chier Rosen, worked with her husband. But this was no housewife hobby, Rosen went to Smith, planned to work at the UN, but found she and her husband shared an entrepreneurial spirit and so she spent some time with Dione Lucas and ended up writing a lot of books on a lot of topics.
In fact, her description of how they put these books together is fascinating–using a printer in the neighborhood, cutting and binding the pages themselves, as well as fulfilling orders. Actually, in an interesting way it sounds like a self-publishing effort I’m in the middle of. We’re doing the content and design ourselves, and though we won’t be binding, we are taking orders!