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Posts by Rebecca Federman

A Quick Guide to Culinary Research

While I've taught a number of classes about how one would begin culinary research at the New York Public Library, I understand that people can't always make it to midtown in the middle of the day, nor does everyone live in New York. For those reasons and more, I've put together a brief tutorial on how to begin culinary research at a library and I will attempt to make this as universally applicable to other libraries as possible. 

Cookery is the Word

Perhaps the most important trick when looking up cookbooks in a library catalog is to use the term 

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Mogen Dovid Delicatessen Journals

Working in a research library has its advantages. I've met lots of interesting people, encountered fascinating objects serendipitously, and wandered around the deep crevices of a landmark building.

But an unusual condition can occur when you've worked in a library for a long time. You run the risk of becoming jaded. First Folio of Shakespeare? Been there, done that. Gutenberg Bible? Please. I walk by it every day. But when you do stumble upon something new --  something exciting and revelatory and unexpected -- you have a tendency to appreciate it 

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Julia et Jim

With so many menus in the New York Public Library collection, it's not uncommon for me to stumble upon a gem I've never seen before. The menu featured here is one such example. Had a patron not requested this 1975 dinner menu honoring James Beard and Julia Child a few months ago, it would still be sitting in its box downstairs. But thankfully the request was made, and I was introduced to this charming item. The dinner, which was sponsored by the Wine & Food Society of New York, was held on 

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Ruth Madoff's Cookbook

While Bernie Madoff spends the rest of his life in prison, his wife Ruth will have plenty of time to work on a second cookbook. Yes, a second cookbook. Ruth Madoff edited a cookbook in 1996 called The Great Chefs of America Cook Kosher, which has garnered its own bit of controversy. Ruth, along with her friend Idee Schoenheimer, is credited as an executive editor of this spiral-bound work, although according to an

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The Forme of Cury

 According to an article in The Guardian this week, the University of Manchester Library will begin a project to digitize The Forme of Cury, a rare 14th century cookbook compiled by King Richard II's royal chefs. The Forme of Cury is considered the oldest known cookery book written in English (cury is the Middle English word for cookery), and the digitization project, which will include other treasures such as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, should be completed by 2009. While the New York Public Library does not have the 

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Restaurant Month at NYPL

Forget Restaurant Week, October is Restaurant Month at the New York Public Library with three public programs that explore the past and the future of restaurant culture. We start things off on October 10th with Spain's master molecular gastronomist Ferran Adria discussing A Day at elBulli - a new book that documents a day in the life at Adria's restaurant. From dawn until way past dusk, A Day at... gives readers a way to experience elBulli without having to make a reservation.

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Landmark Restaurants

At a recent discussion sponsored by the Historic Districts Council on New York’s historic restaurants and bars, Matthew Postal, architectural historian and co-author of

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Fromage Fort

My refrigerator door holds a lot of stuff: butter, condiments, pickled shallots. Taking up the most real estate, however, are cheese nibs: those pieces of cheese you don’t feel justified in throwing away, but you never seem to eat again. They look okay - no visible mold - but you can never fully remember how long they’ve been sitting there. Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano I keep for adding to soup (although I often forget about that too), but the softer cheeses, the French or Spanish cheeses, 

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Desert Island Cookbook

Judson Kniffen Theater Director New York City

Cookbook: Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells.

Why do you like it?: On my desert island there is room for lemon tart, potato and celery root gratin, leek terrine with truffles, and oxtail stew. And despite not knowing her personally, being stuck on a desert island with Patricia 

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Cocktails and Dames

The Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) is a very worthwhile organization that sets out to preserve “cocktails that are endangered or even believed to be extinct.” From their home office in Pittsburgh, PA, LUPEC’s aims are not only to resurrect vintage cocktails, but to also advise on how to be a “really excellent bartender.” They hold regular meetings, such as Cinco 

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While it doesn’t necessarily look like apple season outside, it is already upon us. Early September is apparently the best time for picking apples and upstate New York is full of Pick-Your-Own spots. According to a recent New York Times article, this year’s weather has helped produce juicy, sweet apples, “almost like a good wine” but because of immigration crack-downs and the steep fines for hiring illegal immigrants, there are not enough workers at the orchards to get these apples to markets.

The web is filled with information on various orchards throughout 

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Claudia Roden

Claudia Roden is the subject of Jane Kramer’s wonderful profile in this week’s food-themed New Yorker. (great audio clip here.) Roden is an expert in many cuisines and her cookbooks are essentially fail-proof. I use her Book of Middle Eastern Food all the time, as well as the encyclopedic

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The Brooklyn

It’s been a while since I posted any cocktail recipes, but since Frank Bruni just gave two stars to one of my favorite restaurants, I thought I’d honor Franny’s by posting a recipe for a Brooklyn. They serve a delicious one at Franny’s, so my brother reverse engineered the recipe to make an equally delicious one at home. Like many cocktails, recipes vary. The Official 

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Cookbook Stores

According to a short piece in Publisher’s Weekly, two new cookbook stores have opened on the East Coast. In Boston, chef Barbara Lynch has opened Stir, which features titles in cookery, wine, culinary history and food science. In addition to the bookstore, Stir also offers classes in their demonstration kitchen. Some of the September class listings include: Oysters and Wine, and the Cocktail Meets Plum.In 

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Julia Child

Although I’m not one to read too much into coincidence, I would like to point out that Julia Child and I share a birthday: August 15th. So while I was chowing down on hamburgers and buffalo wings, Julia, no doubt, was eating Dover sole in culinary heaven shaking her head at my American ways.

The Library has a large collection of Julia’s works, both by and about her, including the very recent biography Julia Child by culinary historian Laura Shapiro. The two-volume set of

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Desert Island Cookbook

Andrea Buman Mother/Photo Editor New York, NY

Cookbook: Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

Why do you like it?: It’s not only a memoir, it also includes her favorite recipes from important times in her life. Ms. Reichl is an amazing story teller and she knows a thing or two about food. The recipe for fried chicken is worth 

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