“Old recipes, like old friends, are usually most dependable,” observes State-of-Mainer and best-selling novelist Kenneth Roberts in his introduction to this charming book. Good Maine Food was his brainchild, stimulated by a piece he had written in the early 1930s for the Saturday Evening Post praising the foods of his home state. That article set off a flurry of responses from readers, bristling because he had overlooked Grandma Perkins’ cucumber relish, Cousin Mary’s red flannel hash, and Dr. Emmons’ wife’s Indian pudding. Determined to put together a fuller and more satisfying portrait of traditional Down East foods, Roberts commissioned his niece and secretary, Marjorie Mosser, to compile his personal favorites along with the recipes and recollections of his readers. The result is a book pleasurably infused with a sense of time, place, and character.
Each chapter is headed by maxims from Maine kitchens (“marbles in the bottom of a kettle will prevent ketchup, milk, sauces, etc. from burning”), and the recipes themselves adhere to Roberts’ precept that “the best food is the simplest”: Kennebunkport baked beans are here, along with oyster stew, Ben Ames Williams’ roast wild goose, Grandma Nason’s chocolate custards, and many, many others. These dishes reflect Roberts’ wish to present a book “that ignores cookery that is namby-pamby, twiddly, cloying, fussy, messy and immature and emphasizes foods that appeal to men and women whose talents are sound and sturdy.” Humble, intimate, and refreshingly earthy, this book, much in demand in its hardcover editions, will be a delight to have on one’s kitchen shelf.
This copy is the 1947 revised edition of the 1939 original. A good sound copy, bound in yellow cloth, it is clean and solid. The dust jacket is somewhat worn around the edges, with a little modest sun-fading of the spine, and it is price clipped; it is, however, intact and is now protected in a mylar sleeve.