[OPE-L:7865] Re: Query re 'The Complete Book of Cooking'

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Date: Tue Oct 29 2002 - 00:55:14 EST

Dear Jerry,
         I think you err in talking below about that chef's last published 
comment on the subject. In fact, in Chapter 20 of Volume I of 'Cooking in 
General', he wrote that he could not take up certain questions because 
their exposition belonged to 'the special study of meat and, therefore, not 
to this work'.
         best wishes,

At 11:55 26/10/2002 -0400, you wrote:
>Once upon a time in a place far, far away
>there was a  famous chef who repeatedly wrote, in
>published and unpublished writings, that he planned
>on writing a series of six books on cooking.  In one of
>his works, "An Outline on Cooking",  he wrote that
>"obviously" the order of those 6 books would be:
>Book One:    Cooking in General
>Book Two:    Vegetables
>Book Three:  Meat
>Book Four:    Fish
>Book Five:    Fruit
>Book 6:         International Cooking as a Whole
>One of the unusual aspects of "The Complete Book
>of Cooking" was that it was not only to be a
>comprehensive and systematic exposition of the
>subject of cooking but it was also to be a critique
>of all previous thought on the subject of cooking.
>Quite a task!
>In the "Preface" to his work "A Contribution to a
>Critique of Cooking"  the very first paragraph read:
>"I examine the system of cooking in the following order:
>cooking in general, vegetables, meat, fish, fruit,
>international cooking as a whole".
>Yet, the "Contribution to a Critique of Cooking" only
>concerned "Cooking in general".
>The last major work that he wrote was a massive
>multi-volume work on the subject of "Cooking in
>general".  The first volume of "Cooking in general"
>(subtitled "A Critique of other philosophies of cooking")
>was published in his lifetime. The subsequent
>volumes were only incomplete drafts but were edited
>by a cook who worked in the same kitchen as the
>great chef and was a life-time collaborator, friend,
>and benefactor.  They were then published
>posthumously since the great chef died (alas)
>while still a young man.
>In the "Prefaces" to "Cooking in general" and in all
>of his subsequent writing (much of which was also only
>published posthumously) the great chef neither wrote
>that he planned on only writing Book One ["Cooking
>in general"] and had thereby given-up on his 6-book-plan
>nor did he write that he still planned on writing the other
>5 books in the 6-book-plan.
>Query:  given the above, doesn't the preponderance
>of evidence strongly suggest that he still planned on
>writing the remaining 5 books?
>Indeed,  since in his last published comment on this subject
>-- in the "Contribution to a Critique of Cooking" -- he had
>informed his readers that he *was* planning on writing all
>6 books beginning with "Cooking in general" wouldn't it
>have been only reasonable to expect that had he abandoned
>his plan to write the 6-book-series on cooking then he would
>have explained (or at least noted) that in "Cooking in general"?
>Can't his silence on that topic in "Cooking in general" -- given
>*the context of what he wrote in "A Contribution to a Critique of
>Cooking"* be taken as evidence that he still planned on
>writing the remaining 5 volumes at the time that the first volume
>of "Cooking in general" was published?
>In solidarity, Jerry

Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: Phone (604) 291-4669
          Fax   (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 872-0494 [AFTER 1 November: (604) 689-9510]
Lasqueti Island: (250) 333-8810

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