The recipe book for foodies, practical cooks and gossips alike. The legendary Alice B. Toklas Cookbook is a collection of some of the brightest ideas for preparing delicious meals as well as a rich mine of stories about the best-known artists and writers living in mid-twentieth-century France.
In this memoir-turned-cookbook, Alice B. Toklas describes her life with partner Gertrude Stein and their famed Paris salon, which entertained the great avant-garde and literary figures of their day. With dry wit and characteristic understatement Toklas ponders the ethics of killing a carp in her kitchen before stuffing it with chestnuts; decorating a fish to amuse Picasso at lunch; and travelling across France during the First World War in an old delivery truck, gathering local recipes along the way. She includes a friend's playful recipe for 'Haschiche Fudge', which promises 'brilliant storms of laughter and ecstatic reveries', much like her book.
The Innovative Appetites of M.F.K. Fisher, Alice B. Toklas, and Elizabeth David
Author: Alice McLean
Category: Literary Criticism
This book explores the aesthetic pleasures of eating and writing in the lives of M. F. K. Fisher (1908-1992), Alice B. Toklas (1877-1967), and Elizabeth David (1913-1992). Growing up during a time when women's food writing was largely limited to the domestic cookbook, which helped to codify the guidelines of middle class domesticity, Fisher, Toklas, and David claimed the pleasures of gastronomy previously reserved for men. Articulating a language through which female desire is artfully and publicly sated, Fisher, Toklas, and David expanded women’s food writing beyond the domestic realm by pioneering forms of self-expression that celebrate female appetite for pleasure and for culinary adventure. In so doing, they illuminate the power of genre-bending food writing to transgress and reconfigure conventional gender ideologies. For these women, food encouraged a sensory engagement with their environment and a physical receptivity toward pleasure that engendered their creative aesthetic.
In this original and intriguing study, Anna Linzie examines three mid-twentieth-century texts never before treated as interrelated in a book-length work of literary criticism: Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933) and Alice B. Toklas's The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book (1954) and What Is Remembered (1963). Taking these three texts as intertexts or as an assemblage of the true story of Alice B. Toklas, Linzie challenges assumptions about primary authorship and singular identity that have continued to limit lesbian and feminist rereadings of autobiography as a genre and of Stein and Toklas as writers and historical figures.The True Story of Alice B. Toklas explores how the concept of autobiography as a primarily referential genre is challenged and transformed in relation to autobiographical texts written about the same person, the same life, but differently, by different writers, at different points in time. The concept of one true story is deconstructed in the process as Linzie modifies Homi K. Bhabha's “almost the same but not quite/not white” for the purposes of this particular study as “almost the same but not quite/not straight.” The investigation moves simultaneously on the planes of textuality and sexuality in order to provisionally articulate a “lesbian autobiographical subject” in Linzie's reading of these three texts.Linzie's study fills a gap in literary criticism where Stein's companion and her work have been more or less neglected, conceptualizing the Stein-Toklas sexual/textual relationship as fundamentally reciprocal. The True Story of Alice B. Toklas provides a new critical perspective on Toklas as indispensable to Stein's literary production, a cultural laborer in her own right, and a writer of her own books. Making a significant contribution to recent lesbian/feminist reconceptualizations of the genre of autobiography, this study will fascinate Stein and Toklas scholars as well as those interested in queer and autobiography studies.
"[He] came to us through an advertisement that I had in desperation put in the newspaper. It began captivatingly for those days: 'Two American ladies wish . . .'" It was these lines in The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook that inspired The Book of Salt, a brilliant first novel by a talented young Vietnamese American writer about the taste of exile.Paris, 1934, 'Thin Bin', as they call him, has accompanied his employers, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, to the station for their departure to America. His own destination is unclear: will he go with 'the Steins', stay in France, or return to his native Vietnam? Binh fled his homeland in disgrace, leaving behind his malevolent charlatan of a father and his self-sacrificing mother. For five years, he has been the personal cook at the famous apartment on the rue de Fleurus.Before Binh's decision is revealed, we are catapulted back to his youth inFrench-colonized Indo China, where he learned to cook in the embassy kitchens, his years as a galley hand at sea, and his days turning out fragrant repasts for the doyennes of the Lost Generation. Binh knows far more than what the Steins eat: he knows their routines and intimacies, their food and follies. With wry insight, we see Stein and Toklas ensconced in rueful domesticity. But is Binh's account reliable? A lost soul, he is a late-night habitué of the Paris demi-monde, an exile and an alien, a man of musings, memories, and possibly lies, susceptible to drink and occasional self-mutilation with a kitchen knife... Love is the prize that has eluded him, from his family to the men he has sought out in his far-flung journeys, often at his peril and more recently with risk to Stein's manuscript notebooks.Intricate, compelling, and witty, the novel weaves in historical characters, from Stein and Toklas to Paul Robeson and Ho Chi Minh, with remarkable originality. Tastes, oceans, sweat, tears -- The Book of Salt is an inspired novel about food and exile, love and betrayal.
How modernist women writers used biographical writing to resist their exclusion from literary history It’s impossible, now, to think of modernism without thinking about gender, sexuality, and the diverse movers and shakers of the early twentieth century. But this was not always so. The Passion Projects examines biographical projects that modernist women writers undertook to resist the exclusion of their friends, colleagues, lovers, and companions from literary history. Many of these works were vibrant efforts of modernist countermemory and counterhistory that became casualties in a midcentury battle for literary legitimacy, but that now add a new dimension to our appreciation of such figures as Radclyffe Hall, Gertrude Stein, Hope Mirrlees, and Sylvia Beach, among many others. Melanie Micir explores an extensive body of material, including Sylvia Townsend Warner’s carefullly annotated letters to her partner Valentine Ackland, Djuna Barnes’s fragmented drafts about the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Margaret Anderson’s collection of modernist artifacts, and Virginia Woolf’s joke biography of her friend and lover Vita Sackville-West, the novel Orlando. Whether published in encoded desire or squirreled away in intimate archives, these “passion projects” recorded life then in order to summon an audience now, and stand as important predecessors of queer and feminist recovery projects that have shaped the contemporary understanding of the field. Arguing for the importance of biography, The Passion Projects shows how women turned to this genre in the early twentieth century to preserve their lives and communities for future generations to discover.