Helen Brown's West Coast Cook Book (Bonanza Books)


By Helen Evans Brown, Bonanza Books edition circa 1978 of the 1952 publication. Hardback, no DJ reprint from the original plates, designed by Ward Ritchie, 419 pages plus unpaginated index.

Many people consider this a landmark work, and one online fan of the book wrote that in a perfect world, this book would be a kitchen staple. It was Brown who first established that there WAS a West Coast cuisine (which surprised, then delighted the East Coast food establishment).

In the splendid 1991 revised edition which we also have on this site, Philip Brown, husband and collaborator of the late author, reminds readers that the recipes were written in an era before the food processor or microwave had been invented…or that cholesterol could determine ingredients or their amounts. “Substitutes may be made,” he writes, but the results, while very good, “won’t be quite the same.”

This edition also includes the four-page bibliography of historical and contemporary cookery books which seem invaluable to culinary historians of that area. That bibliography is missing in the third version of the book we also have on this site, published in the ‘60s by the Cookbook Collectors Library. There is also a wine/food guide.

This edition is increasingly hard to find. Mostly erased grease pencil sale price on front cover, slight staining at edges. VG/-.

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