New Orleans Cook Book, 1940, Lena Richard, First Edition, First Printing: Famous and difficult-to-find cookbook published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, in 1940. Hard cover. 146 pages. This cookbook is in as-if-new condition. Cover and spine are flawless. Hinges are sound and binding is solid. Pages are completely clean and clear. Absolutely no cooking stains.
Lena Richard was a African American caterer in New Orleans who opened her own cooking school in 1937 and used that venue to organize and write her own cookbook. She writes, “To the ordinary homemaker Creole Gumbo, Court Bouillon, Crawfish Bisque, Grillade a la Creole are no longer dishes prepared in secrecy by French chefs, to be eaten by the rich.” Originally self-published in 1939 as Lena Richard’s Cook Book. At the urging of James Beard, Houghton Mifflin published this revised and re-titled edition the following year. Born into a Catholic Creole family in Louisiana in 1892, Richard’s talents were noticed early while assisting her mother and aunt after school as they worked in the kitchen of socialite Alice Nugent Vairin. Varin was aware of Richard’s talents and began paying her wages at age 14, and hired her once she completed school. Richard went on to be formerly trained at the Fanny Farmer Cooking School in Boston, and would become a chef, caterer, cooking teacher, cookbook writer, frozen food entrepreneur, restaurateur, as well as host her own cooking show on New Orleans television.