Essay by Richard Olney
Introduction by Frank Stitt
Book design by Press on Scroll Road
Cleveland: Press on Scroll Road, 2019. Edition of 50.
11.125” x 7.75”, 26 pages. Designed & composed in Cloister Lightface types. Printed in an iron handpress. Paper from Morgan Conservatory. Frontispiece engraving by Abigail Rorer. Bound by Priscilla Spitler in cloth covered boards with paper title on spine. Numbered.
Colophon: "This essay on culinary herbs was taken from 'Simple French Food' by Richard Olney & published by Grub Street, London. … And a special thanks to Frank Stitt, often called the Grandfather of Southern Cuisine, for providing his warm & inspired Introduction to Culinary Herbs. His restaurant, Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama was recognized as the Outstanding Restaurant in the Nation in 2018 by the James Beard Foundation."
Frank Stitt, introduction: "Not everyone knows about the man, Richard Olney, painter and artist from Iowa who traveled to France in the 1950s on the ocean liner, The Queen Mary, and became one of the most revered food & wine writers of his adopted home during the 1960s and 1970s. His amazing intellectual curiosity and fundamental grounding in aesthetics allowed him to pursue all matters of pleasure from being ta table, one of his favorite expressions. His essays, reviews, and books propelled him to the summit of the Parisian culinary world. …
"In 'Simple French Food,' a favorite tome from my mentor & beloved writer of food and wine, Richard Olney displays his immensely perceptive, insightful, and masterful knowledge most delicately, playfully, & practically in his chapter on 'Herbs.' He has inspired my life and my home garden, and I can recall his Provencal hillside kitchen garden with 'borders of winter savory' and sections full of the wild rocket or arugula to most Americans and how we would venture out before almost every lunch & dinner to gather a few herbs, flowers, and lettuces to enrich our dining table ..."
In his essay Oley lists herbs alphabetically with short descriptions and suggestions for use. He begins with Basil and ends with Thyme (three kinds).
Excerpt: “Celery (Apium graveolens). French: Celeri. Umbellifer.
“Biennial. The small dark-green garden celery looks like a large version of common parsley and is easily grown from seed. Slightly bitter, with a more concentrated flavor than cultivated branch celery, it is commonly grown in French gardens for use in bouquets garnis & is a more interesting herb for bouquets but may be replaced by branch celery.”
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