A biography of American chef, actor and self-publicist, James Beard, set against a history of the American table during the period of its greatest changes. Robert Clark also demonstrates the influence of James Beard upon the next generation of chefs, including Alice Waters and Barabara Kafka.A biography of American chef, actor and self-publicist, James Beard, set against a history of the American table during the period of its greatest changes. Robert Clark also demonstrates the influence of James Beard upon the next generation of chefs, including Alice Waters and Barabara Kafka.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1993-11-22 More a chronicle of the modern American food industry than a portrait of the country's preeminent foodie, this biography, like a banquet without a main course, suffers from the lack of Beard's palpable presence. Born in Portland, Ore., in 1903 to a forceful, independent woman, who was also an accomplished cook, and an indifferent father, Beard was oversized, socially isolated and interested in food from his earliest years. Hoping for a career in drama or opera, he sojourned to London and Paris as a young man before moving to New York City where, often cooking for others to support himself, he met such figures as Bill Rhode, Jeanne Owen and Anne Seranne who would further his cooking career. Freelance food writer Clark traces Beard's rise from the 1940 publication of his first book ( Hors d'Ouevres and Canapes ) through his 22nd in 1983 ( Beard on Pasta ); noted also are Beard's elevation to ``dean of American cookery'' by the New York Times in 1954 and his later relationships with Julia Child, Craig Claiborne, Barbara Kafka, Peter Kump and other industry greats. Beard's homosexuality and self-absorption are also discussed in this overview, but the absence of such primary sources as letters or reported conversations keep the man himself distant. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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