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Wolfe, Elsie.

Recipes for Successful Dining.


De Wolfe, Elsie (Lady Mendl). Recipes for Successful Dining. New York: The William-Frederick Pres, 1947.
8vo.; pages lightly browned; teal cloth; stamped in gilt; light wear; decorative dust-jacket, printed in green, black and cream; price-clipped; edgeworn, with a few tears at top and bottom edges; lightly browned. In a specially made cloth slipcase.
Second edition; privately reprinted by William-Frederick Press; originally published by D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., in 1934; with de Wolfe's facsimiled signature on the dedication page, and two black and white photographs. OCLC locates only one copy of this edition, at the Hillwood Museum Library, in Washington, D.C.
A presentation copy, inscribed on the front endpaper in green ink: For France/Elsie de Wolfe/Reprinted privately/1947. Inscribed at the foot of the page, perhaps at a later date, in black ink: To Edward Padula. Padula (1916-2001) was a writer, producer and director on Broadway; his well-known - and Tony award winning - production was Bye, Bye Birdie, in 1960.
In three parts, consisting of twenty chapters, including "Why I wrote this book," "Between Ourselves," "Menus Suitable for Lunches," "Suggestions for Tea-Cocktail Parties," and chapters devoted to Soups, Eggs, Fish, Meat, and Vegetables. As she details in the first chapter, "This is not a cookery book at all. It is rather a selection of dishes known and unknown - the result of many years of traveling in many lands and in many out-of-the-way-places; of making friends with interesting and interested maîtres d'hôtels; of amusing adventures, instructive in many ways that were not culinary and better than any lesson in geography I have ever had in school. It is a book, I hope, that may prove of aid to the distracted hostess" (p. 13).
She goes on to explain that the arrangement and contents of this book were conceived with the modern hostess in mind, a woman who seeks a relaxed and casual approach to entertainment. "Since food, like fashion, changes with the times, the standard of food in our day is very different from the pre-war standard of 'lavish hospitality.' Today, good taste in food is just the reverse of lavish and is stamped with the same restraint and elimination as the dress worn at dinner in 1934, compared to the dress worn at dinner in 1910" (p. 14). The arrangement of the book mimics de Wolfe's philosophy about hosting: simplicity, healthfulness, and preparedness.
"Elsie De Wolfe." Encyclopedia of World Biography Supplement, Vol. 20. Gale Group, 2000.
Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008.

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