There are those people who cook from cookbooks and those who just read them. I fall somewhere in between. Lately, I've been obsessing over cookbooks from the 1980s and truth be told, I haven't read them nor cooked from them- yet. What I've taken delight in are the photos.
I think that those wonderful Tiffany books got me started on this kick a few years ago- Tiffany Taste, The New Tiffany Table Settings (a book that must be prized by others as one listing on Amazon has it selling for $99,999*), and The Tiffany Gourmet Cookbook. Then I moved on to Glorious Food upon the recommendation of Chris Spitzmiller who, by the way, is captivated by the cover photo (see above). More recently I've devoured Lee Bailey's City Food and Lee Bailey's Good Parties.
So why the fascination with these cookbooks? I think it's because their authors placed as much emphasis on the tables, the background, and the atmosphere as they did the food. The photos are so darn styled...and they look marvelous. When I look at these photos, they make me want to host a dinner or drinks party with the same look and feel. I do think that it's a relief that today we don't have to serve four courses to our guests, nor do our dishes have to be complicated. (I mean, aren't we all eternally grateful to Ina Garten that she made hosting a dinner party so easy?) I also believe, though, that we need to see more photos that go beyond a basic table setting or a closeup shot of the food- photos that get the creative juices flowing and that inspire us to want to entertain at home again.
Today I'll show some photos from Glorious Food, and tomorrow is reserved for Lee Bailey. And if you don't cook, not to worry. The decorating in these photos is really pretty good.
*I do realize that the $99,999 listing is a typo...or perhaps a joke. At least, I hope it is.
(All images from Glorious Food by Christopher Idone)