As far ago as the days of ancient Greece it was recognized that good eating and the high life went together like childhood and chicken pox. Here at the store, we know that when you’re looking for stylish food, you can turn to the bon vivants of every era, from the courtiers of the Medicis to Diamond Jim Brady to the denizens of the Stork Club in the high-flying 40s.
George Jean Nathan (1882-1958), drama critic and magazine editor, didn’t have that kind of money or that impulse to sybaritism, but he was a worthy, gimlet-eyed observer of the scene. A tireless social critic, he explores here the taste and the pretenses of the affluent citizens who belong to the right clubs, read the right authors, and drink the right wines.
While not exclusively about food, this daringly arch book examines the lifestyles of the mighty, names the names, and skewers their gathering places. Particularly of interest will be a chapter on “Cafes, Restaurants and Night Clubs” and, of course, the one titled “Gastronomy.” “The old Beaux Arts café in Fortieth Street opposite Bryant Park, was the cream when it came to café society….Its presiding genius was one M. Alevy, one of the noblest headwaiters known to Christendom, who could distinguish whether anyone was an authentic member of café society aristocracy merely by smelling his breath.”
The book, published by Reynal & Hitchcock in 1941, is beautifully made and includes witty drawings by the prominent theatrical caricaturist Irma Selz. Our copy is a first edition with the scarce dust jacket. The volume, bound handsomely in full cloth, with black, white, and red stamping, is in Very Good, clean and unmarked condition. The jacket is Good —chipped, with soiling on the back panel; it is intact, however and the front is quite good. It is now protected in a mylar sleeve