In this memoir-turned-cookbook, Alice B. Toklas describes her life with partner Gertrude Stein and their famed Paris salon, which entertained the great avant-garde and literary figures of their day. With dry wit and characteristic understatement Toklas ponders the ethics of killing a carp in her kitchen before stuffing it with chestnuts; decorating a fish to amuse Picasso at lunch; and, travelling across France during the First World War in an old delivery truck, gathering local recipes along the way. She includes a friend's playful recipe for 'Haschiche Fudge', which promises 'brilliant storms of laughter and ecstatic reveries', much like her book.
Alice B. Toklas (1877-1967) was born in San Francisco, California. Long before Julia Child discovered French cooking, Toklas was sampling local dishes and collecting recipes in Paris between the wars. She was confidante, lover, cook, secretary, muse, editor and critic to the writer, Gertrude Stein. Together, they hosted a salon that attracted many influential writers and artists of the day, including Ernest Hemingway, Paul Bowles, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso and Matisse. First published in 1954, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook is a rich mixture of cookery, anecdote and reminiscence, evoking 1950's Paris and meals shared with famous friends. It is one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time.