Gift Guide, Day 3

November 30, 2010


They open a window into long-gone worlds, offering an unselfconscious portrait of another time. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than spend a long morning browsing through a great old bookshop. And if there’s a better way to honor friendship than by offering a specially chosen old cookbook, I’ve never found it.

My most recent find was a seed catalog from World War II, filled with great drawings of long-gone vegetables (and including an exhortation to grow the magic vegetable, kudzu). The seed company has the same name as one of my closest friends, and it will make a fine Christmas treat.

You never know what you will find, but there is always something for everyone. In the past I’ve found first editions of MFK Fisher books, a whole trove of volumes from Alan Davidson’s library, a book written in the fifties for supermarket executives on the future of the grocery store – even copies of my own first cookbook, MMMMM: A Feastiary – which I ran out of years ago.

My favorite old cookbook stores? Bonnie Slotnick in New York, and Omnivore Books in San Francisco.

Happy browsing!

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