Monday, July 23, 2012

Great Gentlemen Cooks Part I

You might remember Mr. Francis Guth, the prolific home cook about whom I wrote recently. (Click here to read the post.) Profiled in a 1971 issue of House & Garden, Guth was photographed at his idyllic Irish manse. What fascinated me about Guth was his enthusiasm for the good life. He was a gentleman farmer, a gentleman fisherman, and, more importantly, a gentleman cook.

The article mentioned that Mr. Guth and his family spent half of the year in Ireland and the other half in Spain. (Evidently, Mr. Guth was an authority on Spanish cooking.) Well, last week, I received a 1972 issue of House & Garden from a dear friend, and lo and behold, the issue featured an article on Mr. Guth's house in Ubeda, Spain, part of a series titled "Great Gentlemen Cooks". Once again, Mr. Guth set the bar high with his über-enthusiastic style of entertaining.

Guth didn't entertain in just one room of his Spanish house; the entire house was a stage for dinners and parties. Guth especially liked to host dinners in his kitchen (where sofas gave his guests a perch from which to watch Guth cooking), his dining room, his wine cellar, and in a space under the eaves. And, he gave readers not one but four suggested menus. Chinese Dinner In The Salon included Cold Marinated Chicken Livers, Lobster Cantonese, and Hot and Sour Soup; American Lunch In The Studio featured Carolina Pork Barbecue and Herbed Bean Soup; Moroccan Dinner In The Loggia meant Meat and Chick Pea Soup and Black Olive, Lemon, and Mint Salad; and Farm Kitchen Lunch saw Asparagus Gazpacho and 'Bacon from Heaven' Flan. Guth suggested that people should "learn to cook in all languages", and based on the menus above, it seemed that he practiced what he preached.

Take a look below for a little taste of Mr. Guth's cooking. And stay tuned for Chuck Williams' take on entertaining tomorrow.

The Guths' vaulted wine cellar where a "classical Spanish dinner in honor of poet and gastronome Balthazar de Alcazar is recreated."

The kitchen where dinner was often served. Mrs. Guth made the ceramic plates.

A Moorish dinner was served on the loggia. Spanish braziers served as tables.

Herbed Bean Soup served in a pumpkin tureen.

Chocolate sponge cake and a bottle of apple-jack were displayed on an artist's palette.

Mr. Guth selecting wine in his wine cellar.

All photos from House & Garden, July, 1972.


  1. Adore this + didn't know of Mr. Guth. Thanks

  2. I love those crazy ceramic plates on the wall! I was born in Co. Cork, wonder if that house still exists. Must do research.

    1. I hope the Co. Cork house still exists because it certainly looked charming in those old photos! I tried to research Mr. Guth but not much turned up on the internet. Let me know if you find out anything about the house!

  3. I love your description of Mr. Guth and his expansive ideas on entertaining, and he truly sounds like a welcoming host, but his plans to eat in different rooms remind me of Odgen Nash's classic about guessing where dinner will be served:

    The living room? No, you're off the path;
    No, not the bedroom; no, not the bath;
    And not the cellar, and not the attic;
    The kitchen? No, that's too democratic.
    Do you all give up? Well, listen and hark:
    We're going to dine outdoors, in the dark!

    ...and on and on.

    --Road to Parnassus

    1. That is too perfect for words and so true! I love it!

  4. It appears Ilecash House is for sale:


    1. How weird is that! Feels like a sign :)

    2. I looked at the listing a short time ago. What is even weirder is the fact that it was once owned by Oswald Moseley!

  5. My husband was recently searching his grandfathers name and we came upon this blog, Mr.Guth is my husbands grandfather! This is so weird to be reading about him!