Murrell.   John     - Rare early edition.
Mvrrels Tvvo Books of Cookerie and Carving.
1st TITLE PAGE: (a straight line) The fifth time printed with Additions. (a straight line) LONDON, Printed by M.F. for John Mar-riot, and are to be sold at his Shop in Saint Dunstans Church-yard in Fleet-street. 1638. The text surrounding by a double line border. 2nd TITLE PAGE: THE SECOND BOOKE OF COOKERIE. (a straight line) VVherein is set forth the newest and most commendable Fashion of Dressing, Boyling, Sowcing, or Roast-ing, all manner either Fleash, Fish, or any kinde of Fowle. (a straight line) Together with an exact order of ma-king Kickshawes, or made-dishes, of any fashion, fit to beautifie either Noble-mans or Gentle-mans Table. (a straight line) All set forth according to the new English or French fashion. BY JOHN MURRELL. (a straight line) The fifth Impression. (a straight line) LONDON, Printed for John Marriot, and are to be sold at his Shop in Saint Dun-stans Church-yard. 1638. THE THIRD TITLE PAGE: A NEVV BOOKE OF CARVING AND SEVVING. (a straight line) A small printers device. (a straight line) LONDON. Printed by M.F. for John Marriot, and are to be sold at his Shop in Saint Dunstans Churchyard in Fleetstreet. 1638.
8vo. 1 fep with ink inscription –“Mary Freeman her Book 1715” on front free end-paper, the same, but dated “1733” on verso. 3 Title pages. First title within double rule border. [1] 2nd x 1st title page [1]. 2 pages The Epistle Dedicatorie. 1-82. 2nd Title Page [1]. 85-148. 3rd Title Page [1]. 151-188. 13 pages of Tables [1]. 1 fep. Text in black letter script with woodcuts and typographical head-pieces and ornaments in-text. Front and back covers with no paste-downs. Showing original leather edging. Light age yellowing, margins of title page fractionally dusty, small section torn away from blank lower margin of M4 with loss of signature letter, minuscule wormhole in upper margin, occasional marginal thumb mark. Crisp and clean in contemporary dark brown calf, covers bordered with triple blind rule, ink stain to upper cover, spine ends worn. A very good unsophisticated copy.
- This fifth edition is probably the original second edition with new editions of this hugely important and fascinating cookery book. One of only a handful of surviving copies of any of the early editions, and one of the first cookbooks to establish cookery as a fashion, rather than simply a practical guide to running a kitchen/household. The work is divided into three parts, each with its own title page, the first two on new recipes for cooking, and the third “a New Booke of Carving and Sewing”(The medieval translation for sewing is serving). The prefaces, and its dedications, are to Mrs Martha Hayes in the first book and to Lady Browne in the second. The Author disparages previous cookery books “the most of which nevertheless have instructed rather how to marre than to make good Meate”. Murrell’s work was new, in that it established a new spirit of cookery and promises it is set forth in the English and French Fashion . He openly appeals to “London Cookery” rather than to provincial cookery. Murrell included many recipes he brought back from his experience of the new cuisine emerging in France. Unfortunately, the complete absence of any new French cookery books between 1560 and 1650 leaves a gap in our knowledge of the pre-La Varenne phase of development. In the third part of his book, Murrell also re-published sections of the first printed carving manual in English, “The Boke of Kervyne” of 1513. Though he reclaims carving as a task suitable for wives in aspiring ‘gentle’ households, he groups it with what he declares to be the most current and chic methods of cooking. In some ways Murrell’s use of this older carving manual seems a nostalgic throwback to an older style of hospitality, which he compares both negatively and positively to the new French methods. Despite its disdain for tradition, Murrell’s work includes many of the classics of British and French cooking recognizable today, including such things as rice pudding (though his recipe calls for the inclusion of ‘the smallest guts of a hog’). It also includes recipes using new world produce such as Turkey. Murrell's 'Book of Cookerie' is particularly rare in any edition; Only a handful of copies are known. STC 18303 recording only 3 copies in the UK and Folger and Library of Congress in the US. The first edition is known only by a sub-title at the Bodlein and the New York Public Library copy. No other edition is recorded. Bitting 336. Hull, ‘Chaste, Silent and Obedient.’ pp. 43-4, 187-88. Not in Vicaire, Oberle, or Alden.L1353. Scarce indeed!

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Antiquarian category
ref number: 11236

Napier.   Alexander    
A Noble Boke Off Cookry
FFOR A PRYNCE HOUSSOLDE OR ENY OTHER ESTATELY HOUSSOLDE. REPRINTED VERBATIM FROM A RARE MS. IN THE HOLKHAM COLLECTION EDITED BY MRS. ALEXANDER NAPIER. LONDON: ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C. 1882.
4to. Half title. Title Page. (v-xiii) (1-136) 3fep. Nicely bound in half tan calf with marbled boards. Plain spine with red label with gilt lines and lettering. Excellent condition externally and internally with minimal staining. Printed on large paper with wide margins and uncut edges. There is a very light round red library stamp (about the size of a 5p piece) on the Title page, but not affecting the text.
- This very nice book is transcribed from a manuscript in the Holkham Collection and is dated; circa 1467. Those recipes, in turn, closely resemble recipes in another famous cookery manuscript called the 'Forme of Cury' compiled about 1390. There is also on p.3. a printing of an aquatint engraving of the 'Peacock Feast' On Nov. 8th 1791, a bookseller was sued by the engraver of the 'Peacock Feast' for pirating the plate without permission. That aquatint plate was used to embellish a book called 'Antiquitates Culinaria' also about very old cookery manuscripts recording ancient Kingly Feasts. The original etching was done from a representation of a Saxon Feast on an ancient brass in St Margaret's Church, King's Lyn. It is also nice to find it as a head-piece, on p3. of this copy. On p.134, this book has an interesting glossary of obsolete medieval culinary words to be found in the 'Noble Boke of Cookery. A fascinating glimpse of English gastronomic history.

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Information

Antiquarian category
ref number: 10925

NEWHAM-DAVIS.   LIEUT.-COL.     - A gastronomic tour of London 1914.
THE GOURMET'S GUIDE.
TO LONDON. BY LIEUT.-COL. NEWHAM-DAVIS. Author of 'The Gourmet's Guide to Europe" (small printer's device). LONDON GRANT RICHARDS LTD. PUBLISHERS
FIRST EDITION: 1914. 165 X 110 mm. 1fep. Half-title. Verso has frontis. Tissue guard then Title page. [1] 1p. Aphorism of Brillat Savarin. [1] 1p TO ALL GOOD GOURMETS. [1] ix - x Preface. xi - xiv Contents. xv List of four illustrations. [1] 1 - 386. 2feps. The text block very clean. Bound in a maroon cloth with gilt text on spine and front cover with bright gilt cartoon figure of a Maitre de Hotel. The whole book in excellent condition.
- Newham-Davis was an avid gastronome who checked out and dined at a huge number of London's eateries, hotels and restaurants. This was the time when Escoffier was ensconced at the Carlton Hotel on the corner of Haymarket and Pall Mall. One of the four illustrations in the book is a famous photograph of Escoffier, (see image #3 below) with a signed dedication to Newham-Davis [N-D]. One of the questions N-D was frequently asked is where is the best place in London to dine. He further states that he always replies with another question; "whom are you going to take out to dinner, because there are so many 'best places', If a man answers that he wishes to entertain some bachelors of his own ripe age and taste, where the food is excellent, the rooms comfortable and no band to interfere with conversation, then the diagnosis is a Cafe Royal one. Very astute. For a City Banquet he recommends on page 308 the Mercers Hall as most of his forbears had been of that guild. He explains in the beginning that he drank 1884 Pommery at one banquet and that his great-great-uncle who was Lord Mayor and Grandfather who was a very peppery and litigious old gentleman. His great uncle was in turn once the Master of the Company. On page 313 N-D goes to introduce himself the famous Mrs Rosa Lewis. She was known as the 'Queen of Cooks and the proprietress of the Cavendish Hotel that occupied three houses, 81 to 83 Jermyn St. He is given a shock on meeting Mrs Lewis. Due to his assumption that his family cook, whom he describes as a portly lady given to wearing church-going attire, he gets a huge shock on meeting Rosa Lewis. His vague ideas are shattered and sent spinning when a slim, graceful lady with a pretty oval face and charming eyes with hair just touched with grey. (see image #5 below). Her culinary skills were highly prized by Edward V11 with whom she was also rumoured to have had an affair. She tells N-D that her whole kitchen brigade consists of girls, believing that having accomplished woman cooks in the kitchen was far more preferable than having male chefs. She also tells of a dish of Quail pudding that is a big favourite of the KIng. N-D finally explains to Mrs Lewis that he considers she holds an equal and parallel position in the kitchen to that of the great French Maitre-Chef, Escoffier. Rosa replied that she admired him not only as a great cook but also as a great gentleman. This is an absorbing book of abundant factual detail, written very well by Lieut- Col Newham-Davis. He appears too be very well connected and a fascinating diligent net-worker. There is a slight gossipy edge to his observations that hold the attention admirably.

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Information

Modern category
ref number: 11288

NICHOLS.   JOHN     - Fascinating glimpses of very early Royal Households.
A COLLECTION OF ORDINANCES AND REGULATIONS
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE ROYAL HOUSEHOLD, MADE IN DIVERS REIGNS. FROM KING EDWARD 111, TO KING WILLIAM AND QUEEN MARY. ALSO RECEIPTS IN ANCEINT COOKERY. ( A fine illustrated device of the Society of Antiquaries' shield.) PRINTED FOR THE SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES BY JOHN NICHOLS: SOLD BY MESSIEURS WHITE AND SON; ROBSON; LEIGH AND SOTHEBY; BROWNE; AND EGERTON'S. MDCCXC.
SOLE EDITION: 4to. 296x240 mm. 1fep. Title page. [1] iii Council of the Society. [1] v-xix Introduction. [1] xxi-xxii Table. (1) [1] 3- 473. 274-276 List of 214 dishes. 1fep. 1/4 dark brown leather spine and tips. Marbled boards. The text block is nice and clean
- A precursor organisation, the College of Antiquaries, was founded circa 1586, and functioned largely as a debating society until it was forbidden to do so by King James I in 1614. The first informal meeting of the modern Society of Antiquaries occurred at the Bear Tavern on The Strand on 5 December 1707. This early group sought a charter from Queen Anne for the study of British antiquities; its projected ventures included a series of 35 books to be issued. The formalisation of proceedings occurred in 1717 with the first minutes at the Mitre Tavern, Fleet Street, dated 1 January 1718. Those attending these meetings examined objects, gave talks, and discussed theories of historical sites. Reports on the dilapidation of significant buildings were also produced. The society was also concerned with the topics of heraldry, genealogy, and historical documents. In 1751, a successful application for a charter of incorporation was sought and granted. The society began to gather large collections of manuscripts, paintings, and artefacts. The acquisition of a large group of important paintings in 1828 preceded the establishment of the National Portrait Gallery by some 30 years. During the reign of Henry V111 a new set of rules were passed in 1526 which are now known as the Ordinances of Eltham and presented in public as a serious attempt to reform the Tudor Court. They set out in detail how the court should be organised and run. In particular, they attempt to prevent members of the court and its servants from profiting from their positions. The Ordinances even attempt to control what happens to the remnant of spent candles as a way of ensuring control of expenditure on the court. They also make a point of seeking to exclude specific groups from the court, including cripples, beggars and boys. Also recorded is the diet of Henry VIII and his courtiers. With up to 1000 people attending the monarch. All aspects of life had to be strictly controlled, these included making provision about who could enter the King's bed chamber to who could keep dogs and when you could play cards. These rules were published in a series of ordinances and regulations, covering pages 137-241 and onwards. Amongst the incredibly detailed instructions are also accounts of what was eaten each day by the King and different levels of courtiers. As can be seen from these extracts, bread formed a major part of the diet of the highest and lowliest members of the court.

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Information

Antiquarian category
ref number: 11069

Nignon   Edouard     - A special limited 2nd edition - #1445 of 2105.
Les Plaisirs de la Table
Ou, sous une forme nouvelle, l'Auteur a devoile maints delicieux secrets et recettes de bonne Cuisine, transcrit les precieux et de fins Gourmets fameux et de fins Gourmets, conseillers aimables et surs en l'Art du Bein Manger PREFACE DE M. ROBERT DE FLERS de l'Academie Francaise (A prinetr's device of a sheep) DESSINS de P.F. GRIGNON. A.PARIS CHEZ L'AUTEUR. 3, Place de la Madeleine et chez LAPINA. EDITEUR. 75, Rue Denfert-Rochereau Overage Depose
4to. Paste-down and fep with brown-on-brown design of food dishes and laid tables. 1fep. Half title. On the verso a breakdown of the print run stylishly designed as a wine glass and dated - April 15th 1930. Title page.[1] Dedication to A. Antonin Careme by Nignon. On verso - red illustration of a table setting. (1)ii-vii Preface by Robert de Flers. 1p Chapitre Premier. [1] 3-330. 331-334 Errata. 335-339 Table des Matieres. 1p Printer's device. 1fep. Last page and paste-down with brown-on-brown design of food dishes and laid tables. Text in black with many very fine red illustrations throughout. The start of each chapter is a full page illustrated design in red. Full original art nouveau style red and black paper cover with gold embossed lines in very good slightly faded condition. The spine has 1.5" chip at the top of the spine and a small chip at the bottom but has been finely repaired. Internally very clean. Edges untrimmed and many uncut.
- This handsome fully original copy of 'Les Plaisirs de la Table' is a true reflection of Nignon as a highly gifted chef who had a reputation for cooking very fine food. In print it is even recorded that at the time when Nignon was the Maitre Chef de Cuisine at Claridges Hotel in London, many in the trade thought him a superior craftsman to Escoffier, who was at the same time, Maitre Chef de Cuisine of The Carlton Hotel in Pall Mall. This copy although slightly larger page-wise than the first edition of 1926, is of a more pleasing design.

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Information

Modern category
ref number: 11143

Nignon.   Edouard     - Rare Nignon menu 1913.
Restaurant Larue - Paris.
Nignon's Menu July 9th 1913.
310 x 200 mm. 2 leaves, 4 pages. Very colourful front cover with an elegantly dressed lady and man entering the restaurant with the Maitre d' in attendance. The inside 2 pages: the first one blank and the second with a very comprehensive a'la Carte menu. The back cover ornate printer's device with E.Nignon's initials. On the third page a light smudge not affecting the menu text. Overall a unique item housed in a handsome marbled folder.
- - This extensive a' la Carte menu from the Restaurant Larue, surprises with its elegance, but most of all because it is laid out very similarly to the menus of Claridges Hotel in London. Nignon was the Chef du Cuisine there from 1894 - 1901. One wonders if the format was started by him then. When I was the Chef Poissonier there in the 1980's, it still had the same a' la Carte menu format. Edouard Nignon (1865-1934), widely regarded within the industry as one of the greatest French chefs. During his career, he cooked at the Cafe Anglais, the Paillard, L'Ermitage in Moscow and directed a brigade of 120 chefs at the Moscow Metropole Hotel. He was at different times according to the Larousse Gastronomique, head chef to the Tsar, the Emperor of Austria, and President Woodrow Wilson. Finally finishing his career at his own "Restaurant Larue'. Situated at the corner of Rue Royale and Place de la Madeleine, and opened by Nignon in 1908. Recognized by the members of the French Academy and other Chefs as one of the fathers of modern French cuisine. Michel Guérard, himself one of the founders of nouvelle cuisine, described Nignon as a visionary chef who had a huge influence on French cooks such as himself and Joël Robuchon. Nignon remains to this day relatively unknown to the general public. He received in his dining room "Tout Paris".(meaning 'Everyone in Paris', a French expression referring to the fashionable and affluent elite of the city, who frequent fashionable events and places, and establish trends in upper-class culture). He was a star in monarchist, bonapartist, nationalist and aristocratic circles. In 1922 aged 57 years old, Nignon was hospitalized to undergo the removal of a kidney and health problems dogged him till his death. His nephew Célestin Duplat, also married to a niece of Madame Nignon, directed the kitchens as Head of Cuisiniers. Nignon said about him "He was at my side in Moscow and other important houses so that I can testify to his professional knowledge. With Célestin at the helm, the establishment is in good hands". In 1933, one year before Nignon dies. his beloved Larue is finally honored with three Michelin stars and will keep them until the war. After the second world war, the restaurant is not able to revive its pre-war grandeur. Larue and its famous wine cave were sold. (Image #2 below), shows the restaurant Larue near Place de la Madeleine, closed before being sold, in Paris in 1954. In the NY Times archive, an article by Jane Nickerson describing the closing of Larue in 1954, in particular the auction in May 11th, of its famous wine cellar. The briskest bidding was for the cognacs bearing the Larue name. A Fine Champagne Cognac of 1795 was sold for $46.oo. ($445.oo in 2021). Two famous brandies were the 1858 Cognac Maison Larue and the 1845 Armagnac Restaurant Larue (see image #6 below). An elderly woman who refused to be identified bought 542 bottles of red burgundy. They included Clos de Vouget 1923, Vosne Romanee 1945, and an estate-bottled Corton 1947. This was the final chapter in the life a great chef and his famous restaurant.

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Information

Ephemera category
ref number: 10934

Nignon.   Edouard     - in fine original state.
Les Plaisirs de la Table
Ou, sous une forme nouvelle, l'Auteur a devoile maints delicieux secrets et recettes de bonne Cuisine, transcrit les precieux et de fins Gourmets fameux et de fins Gourmets, conseillers aimables et surs en l'Art du Bein Manger PREFACE DE M. ROBERT DE FLERS de l'Academie Francaise (A prinetr's device of a sheep) DESSINS de P.F. GRIGNON. A.PARIS CHEZ L'AUTEUR et chez J. MEYNAIL, Libraire, 30, Boulevard HAUSSMANN OUVRAGE DEPOSE.
FIRST EDITION. Circa 1926. 4to. Paste-down and fep with red and blue print design. 1fep. Half title. [1] 1p Dedication to A. Antonin Careme by Nignon. Frontispiece is a small red illustration. Title page.[1] (1)viii-xiv Preface by Robert de Flers. 1p Chapitre Premier. [1] (1)18-326. 1p Journal. [1] (1)329-333 Table des Matieres. 1p Printer's device. Last fep and paste-down with red and blue print design. Text in black with many very fine red illustrations throughout. The start of each chapter is a full page illustrated design in red. Full original blue and crimson paper cover in very good slightly faded condition. The covers supported by strong cardboard inserts. Internally very clean with pages slightly age browned due to the paper quality used at that time. Edges untrimmed. A nice original copy of an unusually well designed cookery book in Art Nouveau style.
- Edouard Nignon was born, one of eight siblings, in Nantes on November 9, 1865. At the very tender age of ten he was apprenticed to the restaurant Cambronne in Nantes, October 9, 1874. A year later, October 20, 1875, he entered the restaurant Monier, the best in the town. Some women there taught him to read and write in the style of the area. Later he worked in some of the largest Paris houses with the greatest chefs such as the Cafe Anglais and The Paillard, gaining a classic apprenticeship and elsewhere; Asst. Chef saucier at Chez Bignon. Chef saucier at Chez Voisin. Chef entremettier à l'exposition de 1889. Chef rôtisseur at La Lapérouse. Chef des cuisines at Marivaux. His many experiences and positions gave him access to the highest levels of society and a growing reputation. Nignon emigrated to Austria as Chef to the Emperor of Austria and then to Russia where he served the Czar and at L'Ermitage in Moscow and commanded a Kitchen brigade of 120 chefs. He also travelled to Britain where he held the post from 1894 - 1901 of Maitre Chef des Cuisiniers at Claridges Hotel in London. At this time another great Chef - Escoffier, was working at the Savoy and then the Carlton Hotel, Pall Mall. It is rumoured in print that there was a professional rivalry between the two chefs. The rumours indicate that many thought Nignon to be the more creative and precise craftsman. Nignon made his fortune and returned to Paris where he bought a house in 1908 and created the Restaurant Larue in the Place de la Madeleine. It became the most elegant in Paris, its customers were the finest in the world; artists, poets, writers, government ministers, stars of the stage, kings and princes, also cooking for President Woodrow Wilson. One client, le Marquis de Rouge, a prominent gourmet, once told Nignon that he liked and wanted a pink duck dish. Nignon created the famous ‘Caneton à la presse’, serving it with a bottle of Musigny 1884. He is also credited with creating the dish 'Homard à l'Américaine'. Nignon was also a successful business-man. Sacha Guitry, who knew him well, later wrote in the preface to one of his many books; ‘He always consulted with profit’. For the last years at his restaurant Nignon traded the chef’s toque for the Maitre d’ Hotel’s black uniform. His fame grew and grew. Observed going from table to table, advising a sole, offering a partridge, suggesting a dessert or a wine from his famous cellar, it was said that all Paris dined at his table. Nignon retired in 1921 and returned to Britain, where he died in 1934. (one year before Escoffier expired). Besides ‘Les Plaisirs de la Table’, he wrote two other great books: ‘L’Heptameron des Gourmets, ou, Les Delices de la Cuisine Francaise’, and ‘Eloges de la Cuisine Francaise’.

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Information

Modern category
ref number: 11134

Nignon.   Edouard     - A rare signed copy.
Les Plaisirs de la Table
Ou, sous une forme nouvelle, l'Auteur a devoile maints delicieux secrets et recettes de bonne Cuisine, transcrit les precieux et de fins Gourmets fameux et de fins Gourmets, conseillers aimables et surs en l'Art du Bein Manger PREFACE DE M. ROBERT DE FLERS de l'Academie Francaise (A prinetr's device of a sheep) DESSINS de P.F. GRIGNON. A.PARIS CHEZ L'AUTEUR et chez J. MEYNAIL, Libraire, 30, Boulevard HAUSSMANN OUVRAGE DEPOSE.
FIRST EDITION. Circa 1926. 4to. Paste-down and fep with red and blue print design. [1] 1 plain fep with Nignon’s signature and a dedication written in ink in a beautiful cursive script; a Madame Erlanger Respectueux Hommages de L’auteur E. Nignon. Half title. [1] 1p Dedication to A. Antonin Careme by Nignon. Frontispiece is a small red illustration. Title page.[1] (1)viii-xiv Preface by Robert de Flers. 1p Chapitre Premier. [1] (1)18-326. 1p Journal. [1] (1)329-333 Table des Matieres. 1p Printer's device. Last fep and paste-down with red and blue print design. Text in black with many very fine red illustrations throughout. The start of each chapter is a full-page illustrated design in red. Full original blue and crimson paper cover in very good condition. Internally very clean with pages slightly age browned due to the paper quality used at that time. Edges untrimmed and many pages uncut. A nice original copy of the first edition with the author’s signature.
- Edouard Nignon was born, one of eight siblings in Nantes on November 9, 1865. He died in Britian in 1934 one year before his great professional French compatriot, Auguste Escoffier. Nignon considered by many contemporaries to have been one of the best chefs of the time. He wrote and published three main titles. Two editions of Les Plaisirs de la Table, the first published in 1926. Two editions, the first published in 1919 of L' Heptaméron des Gourmets, ou, Les Délices de la Cuisine Française. One edition, first published in 1933 of Éloges de la Cuisine Française. Copies with Nignon’s signature are extremely rare.

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Information

Modern category
ref number: 11186

Nignon.   Edouard     - In fine original condition.
E. NIGNON ELOGES DE LA CUISINE FRANCAISE
PRESENTATION DE SACHA GUITRY (A small illustration of game, fish, casserole and wine bottle) PARIS L'EDITION D'ART H. PIAZZA 19, RUE BONAPARTE. With an elaborate ornate illustrated blue/green border.
FIRST EDITION 1933. 238 x 190mm. 1fep. Half title. [1] Title page. [1] Pages 1&2 Presentation by Sacha Guitry. Dedication page to Robert de Flers. [1] 1page with large illustration in blue/green. [1] 11-426. 427-441- Index Alphabetique. [1]443-444 Index. Many beautiful illustrations thoughout. 1page Ouverges de Meme Auteur. 2feps. Text block in fine clean condition with many pages uncut. Original complete soft covers. The spine is age browned and the covers slightly less so, but everything as originally issued and clearly legible (See image # 1). A wonderful copy.
- While researching Nignon’s book I came across an article written in the Hotelkeeper & Caterer on 4th May 2004 by Michel Roux, the famous chef & proprietor of the Waterside Inn, Bray, Berkshire. It explained the book so well that I have copied the article in its entirety…….. “The cookbook I refer to most is 'Eloges de la Cuisine Française' by Edouard Nignon. It was originally published in 1933, but I found my copy quite by chance 35 years ago in a London bookshop. (It seems to be available only at auction now.) I knew about Nignon, of course - that he was one of our great chefs along with Escoffier and Carême, but I hadn't read anything that he'd written. As soon as I picked the book up and flicked through it I was hooked. I could sense the spirit of the man behind it - a man with a great passion for his career. Food for him was a life, a mission. He not only loved cooking, he loved to eat, too. And as well as being a great chef, he worked front-of-house in his own Paris restaurant, Le Restaurant Larue, in the early 20th century. That struck a chord with me, because when Albert and I first opened Le Gavroche in London we used to take it in turns to put on our evening suits and take the orders at the table. Something that made this book special was the fact that it really was ahead of its time. The way Nignon cooked would be totally acceptable today. His recipes show true respect for his produce, and they are light already - not dependent on cream at all. They rely on skill and the quality and taste of produce. This is why I love the book so much. The book is divided into three parts, with two-thirds being recipe-led and the remaining third being about Nignon's life. The first part is broadly on gastronomy, the second part is on the treasures of the kitchen - flavours, the table, etc - and the third part is written around different dinners that Nignon cooked. All the pages of my book are well-thumbed, and I can say absolutely that elements of many of my dishes have been inspired by the recipes and philosophies in it. Nignon passed on such a wealth of knowledge and wrote in such a passionate and inspirational manner - the beauty of a true master. The book is like a companion to me, because I can see part of myself in the book. It is truly inspirational to me - a work of art. Some of my more senior chefs at the Waterside have read this book, but as it is written in French and it is a very advanced book, it would have very little meaning to young chefs who are at the start of their culinary career, I think. It's one for when you are older.”

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Information

Modern category
ref number: 11195

Nignon.   Edouard     - Extremely rare Nignon menus.
Claridges Hotel London.
Two of Edouard Nignon's menus dated 1900.
Menu 1. 163 x 100mm. Cream coloured card with a bright embossed American flag. A ten course dinner menu dated 4 Juillet 1900. Obviously celebrating American independence day. A clean item still in very good condition, with the word 'Menu'. embossed in gilt. Menu 2. 147 x 82mm. Similar cream coloured card with two crossed flags, one being the Queen's Royal Standard and the other is the Union Jack. The menu is titled the 'Atlantic Union'. The flags and the word 'Menu' are brightly coloured and embossed. The menu has twelve courses and dated 19th May 1900. Clean bright menus in good condition housed in a cardboard folder covered with marbled paper and a label on the front cover. Very rare.
- Claridges Hotel, Brook St, London, has always been the most important hotel in the UK for diplomatic dinners and social functions. Even today there are approx. one dozen state banquets hosted during the season by the Queen personally, for various Embassies and visiting Heads of State. As both menus here are decoratively very handsome but understated, they appear to be above the norm. The first one for American Independence day could have been hosted by or for Joseph Choate the American Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James's, presented 1899 and recalled 1905. The Chef de Cuisine at that time, Edouard Nignon, had a classic apprenticeship in some of the greatest French kitchens of the time. He diligently trained in all the main departments; Saucier, Rotisseur, Entremetier, Poissonnier, Garde manger, Patissier and Tournant. He was Chef de Cuisine to the Tsar and the Emperor of Austria, eventually becoming the owner of the famous Restaurant Larue on rue Royale in Paris. In between those two famous positions he was at Claridges Hotel from 1894 - 1901. He was known to be a fantastic craftsman and the food at Claridges was thought by many to be the best in London. This was despite having Escoffier ensconced at the same time in the Carlton Hotel, Pall Mall. As displayed below these 2 Claridges menus of Nignon's, came from a private collection of approximately 127 menus belonging to the great grandson of Camille Albert who was the Head Banqueting Waiter at the Carlton Hotel from 1898 - 1905. About 85 of the menus in the collection are from Escoffier's time at the Carlton, while the others are from other famous London venues. Escoffier's menus are relatively rare while on the other hand, Nignon's are extremely rare. This is possibly due to the fact that while Escoffier was Chef de Cuisine at the Savoy and Carlton Hotels in London for almost 30 years, Nignon had a tenure in London of under 7 years. I have been searching for Nignon's menus for 30 years and these two are the first I have found.

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Information

Ephemera category
ref number: 11210