Every day I work on cookbooks — those stunningly gorgeous, so-delicious-it-hurts cookbooks we all love. But all of the pretty, all of the time can be, well, too much. So when my eyes can’t stand another perfectly styled and crisp food photo, I know it’s time to retreat to my vintage cookbook shelf.
We all have those old cookbooks that just mean the world to us, don’t we? We hold onto them our whole lives because the feeling they give us is completely irreplaceable.
A vintage cookbook is a doorway to a different time in food life, when people did things in a way that we can’t remember anymore. These long-ago authors remind us of forgotten techniques and lost flavor combinations, and they lead us to those unexpected little discoveries we only have when we have a wiser friend with us in the kitchen.
So I’d love to introduce you to one of my favorite old friends: Unplugged Kitchen by Viana La Place. Viana published nine cookbooks in the dozen or so years after 1987, and her recipes have an enduring cult following. I know I’m not the only literary agent or editor with a few Viana gems tucked permanently in her back pocket.