Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the fireside cook book

When I saw the above image on Flickr, I immediately took notice.  Something about the title and the cover artwork grabbed me.  This is the cover of a 1949 cookbook written by James Beard, and illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen.  There was a whole set of the interior illustrations on Flickr, and they're amazingly charming--some examples below.  (You can look at the whole set, belonging to Shelf Life Taste Test, on Flickr.)

Alice and Martin Provensen were a husband and wife team, mainly known for their children's book illustrations.  (Martin designed the Kellogg's cereal mascot, Tony the Tiger.)  Martin died in 1987.  According to Wikipedia, Alice Provensen was still working as an illustrator as of 2006.

The illustrations are just so whimsical and humorous, colorful, and evocative of the mid century.

I'd do happy jig if I happened upon an original copy of this cookbook.  I'd also love to get my hands on a copy of A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers, the 1982 children's book that the Provensens illustrated, and for which they won a Caldecott.  You can see some of the amazing illustrations for that book on this blog.



  1. I was lucky enough to find an original copy of this at a thrift shop earlier this year, and I believe I may, indeed, have done a bit of a happy little jig myself. The illustrators are some of my very favorites since my childhood, as one of my favorite books when I was little also featured their illustrations. I did a post about it on my blog, too - it certainly is a blog-worthy topic. I really enjoyed looking at all of the images on Flicker, and I thank you for sharing the link with us!

  2. I came across an original at a thrift store too and hadn't heard of the book before, but was definitely intrigued by the illustrations--they are SO cool! I thought it might be cool to frame some of the illustrations and hang them up. Though now, I don't want to ruin the book by pulling it apart!

  3. Love these!!! If I ever find one, I'll do a jig, too!

  4. Vintage cookbooks are the best!
    How awesome is the egg illustration? LOVE IT!

  5. I don't have a vintage copy, but I have a reissue from a few years ago. I absolutely love looking through all the illustrations. I think I've only made one or two recipes out of the book, but I sure enjoy looking at the pictures!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin