Enciclopedia Culinaria – La Cocina Completa (1940)


by Maria Mestayer de Echague, Espasa-Calpe, S.A., Madrid. Rare. Second 1940 edition of the 1932 publication. Text in Spanish. An encyclopedic, iconic cookbook in Spain, a combination of the French Larousse Gastronomique and Escoffier’s tomes, Fannie Farmer and Joy of Cooking in the U.S., and Mrs. Beeton in England, wrapped together. An important and influential work codifying the cuisines of Spain. The author, daughter of the French council to Spain, owned an excellent restaurant but was forced out of business following the Spanish Civil War.

Heavy (almost four pounds) hardback, embossed red covers, black titles, boxed pasted-down color illustration of lobster dish on front cover, 902 pages. Black and white instructional illustrations throughout, dish presentation color drawing plates throughout.

As a credit to its worth and longevity, this quite amazing book on Spanish cuisine was still in print in paperback in Spain in recent years. I could not find a hardback copy on the Internet on ABE or Alibris, much less a pre-World War II copy. This copy came from the library of the son of World War II undercover intelligence officer after whom Ian Fleming patterned Jsmes Bond. Seriously.

This book has been well used. The text block, with a well-sown binding, is whole, but stained by use; some pages are stained or have small underlinings; the covers are pulling but still intact; the spine show fading; covers show fairly even color, but wear, especially at the spine.

Condition: Book: Good; Covers: Fair only. An acceptable copy of a rare and important book. NOTE: Overseas customers should expect high shipping cost via U.S. Mail Service.

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