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Substantially Revised Edition of Mexico’s First Cookbook

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409.     [MEXICAN COOKBOOK]. GALVÁN RIVERA, Mariano (publisher). Diccionario de cocina, ó el nuevo cocinero mexicano en forma de diccionario, que contiene todos los procedimientos empleados en la alta, mediana y pequeña cocina, la lista normal de los platillos que deben componer las distintas comidas, que con variedad de nombres de hacen en el día, el método de aderezar los platos y de disponer los diferentes servicios de una mesa, y lo mas selecto de las artes del pastelero, del bizcochero, del confitero, del destilador y del nevero, con todo lo relativo á la repostería.—Encontrándose en él todos los artículos importantes de las obras de esta clase que se han publicado en castellano, y otros nuevos, relativos tanto a la cocina mexicana, como a la francesa, tomados estos ultimos del cocinero real, de las obras de Beauvilliers, de los tratados de Careme, del diccionario de Mr. Burnet, de la nueva cocina económica, y de otros autores. Lo Publica Mariano Galván Rivera, y se vende en la librería del portal de Mercaderes número 7. Mexico: Imprenta de I. Cumplido, Calle de los Rebeldes N. 2, 1845. [1-5] 6-960, [1] 2-26 (first appendix), [1] 2-6 pp. (printed in double column), hand-colored lithograph frontispiece of interior of a kitchen and 2 arrangements of salads, plus 6 lithograph plates (table settings and foodstuffs), wood-engraved text illustrations. Thick 8vo (24.2 x 16 cm), full contemporary brown Mexican calf, covers with gilt-rolled borders, spine gilt decorated and with gilt-lettered black leather label (professionally re-backed, original spine preserved and laid down, sympathetic free endpapers). Moderate shelf wear (gently touched up), one text leaf (17/18) slightly rough along blank outer margins, an occasional minor stain or spot, but overall the condition is fine, particularly for a cookbook. This is a made-up copy, and the first few signatures are a bit shorter at lower margins.

     Third edition, being a substantially revised, enlarged edition of the first cookbook printed in Mexico (El Cocinero Mexicano, Mexico, 1831; second edition, 1834, same format as 1831 edition). In the present 1845 edition, the work has for the first time been rearranged alphabetically in dictionary format, and appendices and other material were added. The present edition is listed by Palau (96950), but it is not noted in Bitting (lists the 1909 edition, p. 585), Cagle (lists the 1831 edition, #1200), Vicaire, and other standard sources. Socorro Puig & María Stoopen in Historia de la cocina mexicana a través de sus publicaciones (Mexico: Museo Franz Mayer, n.d., p. 2) state that this cookbook went through about a dozen editions under various titles before its last edition in 1909. All editions are difficult to locate.

     The rare first edition (Mexico, 1831) was an immediate classic. Jeffrey M. Pilcher in ¡Que Vivan Tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1999, p. 45):

El cocinero mexicano (The Mexican Chef), published in 1831, a decade after independence, set the tone for Mexico’s national cuisine. Possibly the country’s first printed cookbook and certainly the most influential, it passed through a dozen editions and served as a model for cooking manuals throughout the nineteenth century. The anonymous author adopted a sharp nationalistic voice in both linguistic and culinary matters. He denounced the Spanish Academy of the Language and insisted on using words of Mexican origins, even as he praised “truly national” spicy dishes and derided the delicate European palates unaccustomed to chile peppers.

     This is an omnibus publication that covers all aspects of cooking, from setting the table to preparing both the simplest and most elaborate dishes. This cookbook is as extensive as one could desire and covers recipes from the mundane to the most complex, with an emphasis on Mexican raw ingredients and preparation methods. The anonymous author of the Mexican Chef employed many themes of the Enlightenment and denounced Spanish conservatism. His publisher, Mariano Galván, was a political moderate who produced Mexico’s first almanac as well as countless editions of women’s calendars, travel guides, and textbooks. He was jailed for supporting the French intervention.


Sold. Hammer: $750.00; Price Realized: $900.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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