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AUCTION 20

Mexican Cook Book with Posada Illustrations

96. [MEXICAN COOKBOOK]. GOUFFÉ, Jules. [Part I]: El Libro de cocina por Jules Gouffé antiguo jefe de cocina del Jockey-Club de Paris primera edición mexicana esmeradamente traducida de la última edición francesa e ilustrada con numerosos grabados contiene la cocina casera y la gran cocina y un tratado especial de la cocina mexicana formada expresamente por una cocinera poblana. Mexico: Editores: Ed. Rodriguez y Co., Calle del Refugio núm. 15. Impresores: Ed. Dublan Y Comp. Calle de 57 núm. 7., 1893; [Part II]: Apendice al libro de cocina por Jules Gouffé formulario de las cocinas mexicana y española. Colección de recetas prácticos de cocina, repostería y dulcería. Mexico: Editores: Ed. Rodriguez Y Co., Segunda Calle del Factor núm. 6, Impresores: Ed. Dublan y Comp., Calle de 57 núm. 7, 1893. Vol. I: 1085 [1 blank], [2] pp., 1 engraved plate, numerous woodcut text illustrations; Vol. II: 418, xxii pp. 8vo, contemporary three-quarter Mexican tree calf over brown cloth, raised bands (recased, corners renewed, new endpapers). Binding slightly scuffed, uniform age toning because of paper quality, small hole in last leaf in blank margin not affecting text, otherwise very fine.

     First Mexican edition of this translation, apparently translated from the 1888 seventh French edition; other translations had appeared in 1885 and 1890 (see Palau 106411-106412) with different illustrations. See Feret, Gastronomical and Culinary Literature, pp. 41-42. Not in Bitting, Brown, Cagle, Lowenstein, Simon, or Vicaire. The cut on p. 153 is signed by [José Guadalupe] Posada; many other cuts in the text are redolent of his work and are likely by him.

     This work is to nineteenth-century Mexican cookery what The Joy of Cooking is to modern-day practices and even resembles the latter physically in some respects. Gouffé in his introduction states that he wished to produce a cookbook that would be of practical use to both domestic cooks and to those who had to prepare the most elaborate meals in the finest homes. The comprehensive text covers an astonishing amount of material, all the way from selecting food at the market to cookware and utensils needed (including stoves), to proper presentation of the dishes. The dozens of illustrations show not only utensils but also actual methods of preparation and presentation.

     Among the hints given to those who prepare food is “Nada de aves viejas,” which is followed by several paragraphs of stern warnings that no amount of skill or preparation can ever make an old bird into a successful dish: “Es igualmente un error creer que se puede llegar á hacer un buen guiso con un ganso viejo ó una pava vieja; siempre se obtendrá un mal resulto” (p. 63). Furthermore, chefs are warned never to print the menu until all the ingredients for the dishes are in hand and completeness is assured. As might be expected in a cookbook based on a French source, extensive coverage is given to pastries and other forms of deserts, including ice cream. In many instances, especially in Part I, there are numerous recipe names that defy translation and remain in the original French. The second part concentrates on native Mexican recipes, including making pulque and other alcoholic drinks. Although Gouffé generally wrote for very high-end chefs who could afford elaborate menus, the work as presented here covers the entire gamut of cooks and their individual situations. Overall, this is an arresting, beautifully printed tour de force of nineteenth-century French cookery transplanted into Mexico.

     Gouffé (b. 1807), head chef at the Jockey Club in Paris, wrote extensively on the art and practice of cooking; his works were widely translated. In his preface, Gouffé acknowledges the assistance of his two brothers, Alfonse and Hipolite, who were also chefs in other parts of Europe. As Feret remarks, the nineteenth century “saw the triumph of French culinary artistry throughout most of the Western world. Although many works written for the English housewife appeared, the French chefs and French writers were looked to for inspiration and authority” (p. 38). The present work is an excellent example of that dominance. ($2,000-4,000)

Sold. Hammer: $2,200.00; Price Realized: $2,585.00

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