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Time Life The Good Cook Series

FoodTech Aug 7, 2006 08:31 PM

The latest issue of Gourmet has an article about Richard Olney who helped oversaw the development of this series. There are lots of copies out there on ebay, etc. Might be interesting to add to a collection, even though it is 25 years old. Quite an expansive collection from candy to salads to terrines and galantines. Does anything have any experience with this series? Comments?

  1. r
    rasputina Aug 8, 2013 02:10 PM

    Can anyone tell me the subjects in the Patisserie cookbook? I have the US series, and I've heard that the UK versions are somewhat different. I'm wondering what the differences are between the Patisserie cookbook and the Pies and Pastries one we have in the US.

    1. r
      rasputina Dec 26, 2012 12:17 PM

      I finally finished out my series by finding Game at a reasonable price couple months ago.

      1. Atomica Dec 24, 2012 06:34 PM

        I thought we had all the books, but I just found SOUPS at a church flea market. Still a much-referenced series in this house.

        1. Breadcrumbs Sep 3, 2012 11:32 AM

          If anyone here is interested, most of the TL Good Cook Series is also Indexed in EYB and as I mentioned in my earlier post about the TL Foods of The World series, you don't need to be a member to check out the books & recipe ingredients:


          3 Replies
          1. re: Breadcrumbs
            Bacardi1 Dec 6, 2012 04:18 PM

            But all you get from them is a list of ingredients. Nothing else. What good is that?

            1. re: Bacardi1
              johnb Dec 7, 2012 11:33 AM

              Lists of ingredients cannot be copyrighted, but instructions can be. That may have something to do with why, but doesn't answer your question of course.

              1. re: Bacardi1
                Breadcrumbs Dec 7, 2012 11:52 AM

                It allows you to search through your books for recipes by ingredients you have on hand, much like you might do on Epi. You can also search by cuisine, technique, cooking method etc. If you own the books it's an amazing way to optimize your use of them. You can also search recipes by title and make your search as broad or narrow as you wish. (look through just this collection, or your entire bookshelf for example)

                I've been an EYB member for almost 3 years and it's honestly changed the way I cook. I used to ignore my cookbooks because it was much easier to do online searches. Now my cookbooks are no longer neglected and I can pull 4 or 5 off the shelf knowing they all have a recipe for whatever it is I want to make. I can bookmark recipes online so I won't forget about the ones I've tried and loved (or didn't!) and the ones I'd like to try in the future.

                It really is a site for cookbook lovers though and many of us there have lots of books so we get a lot of use out of the site. Inevitably it isn't for everyone though.

            2. Breadcrumbs Sep 1, 2012 05:13 PM

              I'm bumping this thread. Today I discovered a "new-to-me" used book store and found numerous copies of these TL-FotW cookbooks. I currently own:

              American Cooking: Southern Style
              American Cooking: Creole & Acadian
              Latin American Cooking

              Which books do you love? Which would you recommend?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                nikkihwood Sep 1, 2012 09:19 PM

                I own the full set, in addition to the companion spiral-bound recipe books. I started purchasing them in when I was in high school!

                Please try to buy as many as you can. Classic. The American Cooking book is wonderful. The two French books are wonderful. Quintet of Cuisines is wonderful. They all are! I reread them all every year, and several of my recipe books show heavy use. I still cook from the the recipe books

                They are decades old, but the capture the spirit of cuisine. They truly do.

                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                  CindyJ Sep 2, 2012 07:50 AM

                  I also own the full set. I collected them early in my marriage, when I was first learning to cook. I don't use these books much at all, probably because my cookbook collection has grown so large. If there's one recipe that has become a standard in my repertoire, it's the recipe for Bananas Foster from the Creole & Arcadian spiral recipe book. I have to say, since I subscribed to Eat Your Books, recipes from this series pop up often, and that's brought me back to them.

                  1. re: CindyJ
                    Breadcrumbs Sep 3, 2012 09:23 AM

                    Cindy & nikki, thanks so much for your posts. It sounds like these will be a valuable addition to my shelf.

                    I checked EYB and it looks like all but 1 of the 27 books are indexed. I've pasted a link below in case anyone on this thread is interested in taking a look (you don't need to be a member to view the books or recipe lists....but I agree w Cindy, being a member is amazing since you make much better use of your treasured books) :


                2. Funwithfood Oct 17, 2010 08:03 PM

                  I have 23 from this series, does anyone know the official total?

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Funwithfood
                    keelysj Oct 17, 2010 08:44 PM

                    There are 28 volumes. I inherited 26 & have managed to aquire the other 2 since. It is a great reference set.

                    1. re: keelysj
                      Funwithfood Oct 17, 2010 08:59 PM

                      I'm incomplete then!

                      1. re: Funwithfood
                        ospreycove Oct 18, 2010 05:35 AM

                        I just purchased the "Variety Meats" used "Very Good Condition for 37 cents plus $3.98 shipping, lowest I saw was 18 cents!!!!!!!! Amazon has a used book connection there are many of this series available!!!!! 37 cents, the tax on my breakfast, today was $.77!!!!

                        1. re: ospreycove
                          Funwithfood Oct 18, 2010 08:17 PM

                          Wow, a good deal!

                          Mine were all 98 cents at my local thrift store.

                          I've got "Variety Meats", but now I'm wondering which ones I'm missing!

                          1. re: Funwithfood
                            janniecooks Oct 19, 2010 04:07 AM

                            Featherbooks in a early response to this thread - look up - has a complete list of the 28 books in the series.

                            1. re: janniecooks
                              Funwithfood Oct 19, 2010 10:33 AM

                              Thanks, the titles of mine are a little different.

                              (Just realized I accidently gave some of the books I wanted to keep to the thrift store, guess I'll have to buy them back!)

                            2. re: Funwithfood
                              mothrpoet Oct 19, 2010 03:28 PM

                              "Var iety Meats" was the only edition I sent back! BTW, I purchased the "Good Cooks" series and loved it, so when I was solicited on the phone to purchase "Foods of the World," I readily agreed. Imagine my chagrin when I only received about 10 books and then they stopped coming. When I called to inquire, they said they were just trying to get rid of their stock, and didn't have all the books available. I really think I should have been told at the onset that I would never receive the entire collection. This was in the early '80's, or I'd blame Shrinkrap for this!!!!! (see above post).

                              1. re: mothrpoet
                                ospreycove Oct 19, 2010 03:59 PM

                                If a little "Trippa alla Romana" doesn't bring you to the table......nothing will!!

                                1. re: mothrpoet
                                  Shrinkrap Oct 21, 2010 06:45 PM


                      2. Shrinkrap Oct 14, 2010 10:38 PM

                        I sold those ( telemarketing? Was THAT what I was doing? I forgot all about that! ) , briefly, while in college (late 70's)! Was that my first foray into cookbooks? Sort of sorry I didn't keep any. I think I recently got rid of the vegetable and bread volumes.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Shrinkrap
                          Funwithfood Oct 15, 2010 11:03 PM

                          I've got all of the volumes (I think), even had dupes which I recently gave to a thrift store.

                          Believe it or not, I have not made any of the recipes. For me the value is in the photos.

                          1. re: Funwithfood
                            ospreycove Oct 17, 2010 03:33 PM

                            The New School had a Culinary program in the Village in the late 80s and the" Good Cook Techinques and Recipes" was one of the books we had to buy. I still have 16 volumes of this series, very classic in preparation of dishes especially the depth the books go into butchering birds and small game.

                        2. papawow Jun 12, 2010 08:13 AM

                          Suh-weeet! My dad just gave me what I think to be the entire collection of Foods of the World, I'm reading the one on Russian Cuisine first (not sure why I picked that one) and I'm digging it! I made a variation of the Borscht recipe, mmm mmm good.

                          20 Replies
                          1. re: papawow
                            papawow Jun 12, 2010 08:15 AM

                            Oh, and I just found a list of all the books in the series, it looks like there were 27 of them! Wow, I only have 15 or so. http://www.cookbkjj.com/college/time_...

                            1. re: papawow
                              buttertart Jun 14, 2010 06:30 AM

                              I love those books. If you have "Quintet of Cuisines" check it out, it's one of the best.

                              1. re: papawow
                                CindyJ Jun 15, 2010 08:03 AM

                                I just counted and I've got 24 of them. Most of them I bought as a subscriber to the series; a couple I picked up at a used book store. Interestingly enough, one volume, "The Cooking of China," is different from all the rest. Instead of having a glossy cover with photos, the cover of the large "picture" volume is a cloth-bound. And there's a "case" -- a hardbound, book-like cover that opens, on the inside of which are slits that accommodate both the large volume and the spiral-bound recipe book. I can't recall how I obtained this particular volume, but I'm curious about the different format. Does anyone know the story behind this? (Maybe the "sleeve" format was a retail store version?)

                                1. re: CindyJ
                                  buttertart Jun 15, 2010 08:05 AM

                                  Isn't that how they shipped in the mail? I seem to remember them.

                                  1. re: buttertart
                                    CindyJ Jun 15, 2010 02:35 PM

                                    No, I don't think so. All of my other hard-bound picture volumes have glossy covers with photos. The one I showed here is the only one of my collection with a plain, cloth-bound cover.

                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                      buttertart Jun 15, 2010 04:16 PM

                                      Hmm, maybe a later issue? My China volume is the same as the others, with a glossy pic of the hotpot on the front cover.

                                    2. re: buttertart
                                      ChefJune Oct 11, 2010 09:09 AM

                                      Mine didn't come that way.

                                    3. re: CindyJ
                                      cmaliniak Oct 11, 2010 07:20 AM

                                      I am so glad I found this post!! I am desperately seeking a recipe from the "Quintet of Cuisines" volume. I grew up with these books and loved all of the recipes- they were lost after my mother died and I have been pretty lucky locating certain recipes. I am looking for the recipe for "mushroom cookies"- they were a spice cookie in the shape of mushrooms and and they were wonderful. I have a Lithuanian friend who is getting married and I would love to surprise her with these cookies. I would so appreciate if you could get me the ingredients and baking time- I know this is a big request so I understand if time does not permit!....

                                      1. re: cmaliniak
                                        buttertart Oct 11, 2010 07:34 AM

                                        Let me look...that's my favorite of the Foods of the World series.
                                        Oh oh, there's no such recipe in the 1972 spiral-bound recipe book which I believe has all the recipes from the book in it plus more - are you sure it's from this volume? The only cookies are from Algeria, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Poland, and Morocco, the only spice one is the one from the Netherlands, nothing is in a mushroom shape. Sorry! (Not sure if I have the volume itself, will check and let you know one way or the other, just in case it's in it and not in the recipe book.)

                                        1. re: buttertart
                                          cmaliniak Oct 11, 2010 07:43 AM

                                          I know it was in a collection of different cuisines--- Maybe the "Melting Pot"??? I think there was one with that name???

                                          1. re: cmaliniak
                                            buttertart Oct 11, 2010 07:49 AM

                                            I'll check!

                                            1. re: cmaliniak
                                              buttertart Oct 11, 2010 08:06 AM

                                              YES!!! Grybai - 5 tb unsalted butter, softened; 1/2 c sugar, 2 eggs, 1 c honey, heated and cooled to barely warm, 1/4 c sour cream, 4 c a-p flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 tsp orange zest (finely grated).
                                              Cream 4 tb butter w sugar w wooden spoon in large bowl, when smooth, beat in eggs 1 at a time, then the lukewarm honey and sour cream. Sift flour w spices and baking soda, add 1/2 c at a time to the creamed ingredients, add citrus zests. (I would add 1/2 tsp salt and put the zests in with the sugar and butter.) Make into a ball, cut in half, wrap each in waxed paper, chill at least 1 hr. Coat 2 cookie sheets with the remaining butter. Make dough into mushroom shapes (walnut-sized pieces made into caps 1-1/12 in dia, indent slightly), set rounded side up on baking sheets, bake at 350 deg f 10 mins, cool on racks. Make remainder into mushroom stems 1 - 1 1/2 in long, bake 10 mins at 350 deg F. Cool.
                                              Icing: 2 c confectioner's sugar, 5 tsp water, 4-6 tb fresh lemon juice, strained, 2 tsp cocoa. Combine all except cocoa and beat into smooth icing, adding the greater amount of lemon juice for tarter flavor. Divide in half and add cocoa to one half. Dip one end of each stem into white icing and fit it into the bottom of a cap. Set on platter to set and dry. Coat stems and under caps with white icing, set aside to dry, then ice the tops with the cocoa icing.
                                              These sound great - must make.

                                              PS: why don't you make these and start a thread on cooking from Time-Life Foods of the World on Home Cooking!

                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                ChefJune Oct 11, 2010 09:14 AM

                                                WOW! Thanks. Duly copied. I know I don't have that book, and these cookies sound superb. ;)

                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                  cmaliniak Oct 11, 2010 09:18 AM

                                                  thank you thank you thank you!!! This is it! I have looked at so many recipes and none of them was "it"...... I am going to get started on these right away. If memory serves me right, they got better with age. You are a life saver- I think I will definitely consider your suggestion for the thread. Enjoy this beautiful day.

                                                  (ps. I agree with your adjusted steps- I think I will use parchment paper in lieu of butter too)

                                                  1. re: cmaliniak
                                                    buttertart Oct 11, 2010 03:17 PM

                                                    Happy to be able to do it. Funny thing, this one and Quintet were within the first four stacked on my shelves - it was meant to be.
                                                    Since they have honey in them I would expect that to be the case, baked goods with honey generally age well.
                                                    Thread! Thread! Thread! ;-)

                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                      cmaliniak Oct 14, 2010 02:56 AM

                                                      The cookies came out great. Just like I remembered... Incredible falvor- spicy and warm- great texture-The lemon in the glaze does something wonderful to the flavors in the cookie. and they looked amazing!!! I filled a beautiful wire basket with dishtowels and piled them in there. I will be making these again for my family very soon- they are a bit labor intensive but worth every minute- NOTE: the dough is sticky- I added more flour ( had another recipe with similar ratios and they used 1 1/2 cups more). damp hands helped a lot.

                                                      How do I start a thread????

                                                      1. re: cmaliniak
                                                        buttertart Oct 14, 2010 08:56 AM

                                                        I'm really glad to hear that.
                                                        Wonder if chilling would overcome the stickiness? Then the cookies would be more tender, w/o the additional flour.
                                                        Go to the Home Cooking board and you'll see a start new thread button. That will be a fun thread!

                                                        1. re: cmaliniak
                                                          buttertart Oct 15, 2010 08:01 AM

                                                          I took the liberty of starting a thread because I'd love to hear about other people's experience with these books...

                                            2. re: CindyJ
                                              johnb Oct 16, 2010 08:17 AM

                                              I know this reply is late, but if Cindy is still around.......

                                              Your speculation is right. The slick cover ones were those sent in the mail to subscribers. The cloth cover ones with the slipcase were the ones sold in stores at basically the same time. The idea of the slipcover was to provide a pocket for the separate spiral-bound recipe book, which I suppose was necessary to put them on shelves in a bookstore, since each "book" in the series was actually two distinct volumes, of different size and with different bindings. Based on what I have myself seen on eBay and in used bookstores, it appears far more were sold in the mail than in bookstores.

                                              1. re: johnb
                                                CindyJ Oct 17, 2010 03:20 PM

                                                I thought it might have been something like that. In fact, I might have bought the Cooking of China volume before I started my mail subscription. BTW, that's Foods of the World, not the Good Cook Series, as the title of this thread suggests.

                                        2. ChefJune May 27, 2010 07:38 AM

                                          Any book you can get your hands on by Richard Olney is worth owning, imho. His writing is interesting and his recipes work!

                                          He was an important mentor for Alice Waters on her food journey (among others)..

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ChefJune
                                            carbonaraboy May 27, 2010 03:43 PM

                                            It was "The Cooking of Provincial France", from the first series, which my friend's mother had, that started me down this dark path in 1971 at the age of 16. It still has the best cassoulet recipe, even though the duck is not confitted. (Is that a word?)

                                            James Beard was a consultant on the American series, which chronicled regional cooking, a good 15 years before it became the antidote for nouvelle cuisine.


                                          2. f
                                            featherbooks Dec 21, 2006 05:59 PM

                                            Here is the actual citation on the Gourmet article:

                                            Dale M Brown. Gourmet. New York: Aug 2006.Vol.66, Iss. 8; pg. 43

                                            1. s
                                              suzyQ3 Dec 15, 2006 11:20 PM

                                              I know that both the Good Cook and Foods of the World series are excellent. But does anyone know about and have an opinion of the Great Meals in Minutes volumes? There are 22 books in the series, and I believe they came out in the 1980s. Are they in the same league as the other two?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: suzyQ3
                                                GVDub Dec 16, 2006 03:25 AM

                                                I have about a half dozen of those. The series was short lived because the recipes were put together by serious foodies (people like Ken Hom, Rick Bayless, and Raymond Sokolov), and featured ingredients that were a little too specialized (at least according to what I heard around the office) for the typical home cook at whom the series was supposed to be aimed. If you can find any of them, I'd say they're worth checking out.

                                              2. j
                                                judgegail Nov 11, 2006 09:57 PM

                                                Can someone please tell me how many volumes there are in the complete Foods of the World series. I think I have all the large volume books as well as all the recipe books but I'm not positive. I'm considering letting go of these. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: judgegail
                                                  Seattle Rose Nov 13, 2006 01:20 AM

                                                  There are 27 volumes to the Foods of the World series. If you no longer want them, you could give them to a friend who loves cooking and reading or to a library. They are truly a collectable treasure. To sell yours, try eBay.

                                                2. m
                                                  Mr. Cookie Nov 6, 2006 10:22 PM

                                                  I have had half a dozen of the Olney series for years and cook from them regularly, particularly the fish, poultry and soups editions. The recipes are excellent, easy to follow, and not overly fussy.

                                                  1. Atomica Nov 6, 2006 02:51 PM

                                                    I ask again--WHICH ISSUE of Gourmet is the Olney article in? I searched and could not find it. Thanks.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Atomica
                                                      FoodTech Nov 6, 2006 03:09 PM

                                                      I'm pretty sure the article was in the August or September issue of Gourmet. I can't remember the title of the article, but the accompanying picture was a side view of a stack of books.

                                                      1. re: Atomica
                                                        odetteodile Dec 1, 2006 05:23 PM

                                                        Funwithfood posted the Olney article info here:

                                                        I really enjoyed the article in Saveur (issue # 90: The Saveur 100 - jan/feb 2006 - pg 35-39 - Memories: Viola, the Souffle!
                                                        "Dale M. Brown recalls working on the Time-Life Books Foods of the World series between 1968 and 1971.") It was very funny & informative.
                                                        I started collecting the series after reading it. Although I find the recipes a bit heavy and dated (I'm not that big a fan of aspics, for example) the books are a great read.

                                                      2. d
                                                        duckduck Nov 4, 2006 12:21 AM

                                                        I have the bread book and it's one of the best bread books I own. Lots of photos and lots of recipes. Great for the beginner as well as the serious baker.

                                                        1. cayjohan Nov 3, 2006 04:50 PM

                                                          I must share my happiness. The Hub just informed me of an early Christmas gift. Apparently I have been doing enough sighing and mooning over the Foods of the World, so he scoured around the Web and ordered the remaining 5 books I needed to complete my collection of the large format books. Guess I'd better start mooning over the recipe booklets now, as I only have 3 or 4.

                                                          Curious - does anyone have the whole shebang, complete with the slipcovers that encase each set? How did you come by it?

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: cayjohan
                                                            Seattle Rose Nov 3, 2006 11:30 PM

                                                            Hi Cayjohan,

                                                            I have the entire collection of Time-Life Foods of the World, including all the recipe booklets and a couple of other booklets they sent out. One was about bread baking, if I remember correctly. I was one of the original subscribers to the series. Of course, I was VERY young! The original series as sold through mail order did not have the slipcases. They were on the versions that were sold later in bookstores. I consider these books among my culinary treasures, along with my cast iron skillet and Le Creuset French oven.

                                                            You are lucky to be getting the entire set. What a thoughtful husband!

                                                            1. re: Seattle Rose
                                                              cayjohan Nov 4, 2006 12:04 AM

                                                              Wow, I am green with market-fresh, peasant-picked, sauteed-in-butter envy!

                                                              I didn't know that the books were ever sold in stores. Would this explain the different bindings on my volumes? That is - I have a few that are cloth bound, and the rest with a smooth, photo-embellished cover.

                                                              As one of the original subscribers (again, I bow), you must have received the "Viola (sic), the souffle" mailing? Funny bit that - I think that was in Saveur or Gourmet.

                                                              So, enough billing and cooing on my part. On an info seeking note, do you find the recipe booklets to be good/bad/so-so? Like I've said earlier, I love the cultural/historical aspect, but must admit to not making any of the recipes "per se;' but using them as reference for informing other similar recipes. Is it worth seeking the booklets out?

                                                              Finally: "Great Dinners from Life"? Have not heard of this - do tell!

                                                              1. re: cayjohan
                                                                Seattle Rose Nov 6, 2006 07:35 PM

                                                                Hi Cayjohan,

                                                                Regarding the FOW recipe booklets: they contain all the recipes in the hardbound volumes plus other recipes.The recipes in this series are extremely reliable. Julia Child was one of the consultants to the series.

                                                                About "Great Dinners From Life": this was a large-format book containing recipes that had been published in Life Magazine (imagine that?) Each article was an entire menu for a dinner. For instance, I particularly remember the meal from Argentina. It was a rolled, stuffed flank steak (matambre) and black beans to die for. This was when black beans were not all that easy to find, but worth searching for! You might be able to find a copy of this book online at a used book site like abebooks.com or in a local used book store.

                                                                Remember that all these recipes were written in the 60s and 70s. Ingredients available were slightly different then, so bear this in mind and try to find the ingredients asked for. For instance the herbs requested were dried rather than fresh, as fresh was not widely available unless you grew your own. Dried herbs are fine, in most cases.

                                                                Have fun with your new treasures.

                                                          2. s
                                                            Seattle Rose Nov 2, 2006 08:46 PM

                                                            FWIW, Time Life got out of the book publishing business several years ago. It's too bad, too. My copies of "Foods of the World" are among my most treasured books. They were the beginning of my culinary AND cultural education. Does anyone remember "Great Dinners from Life"? Another great book.

                                                            1. Atomica Nov 2, 2006 06:30 PM

                                                              I was just at the library looking at the last 2 issues of Gourmet and didn't see the article. I'm very interested in reading it--exactly what issue is it in? I must have missed it as I was trying to juggle baby, umbrella. etc.

                                                              1. g
                                                                GVDub Nov 2, 2006 04:02 AM

                                                                I worked for Time-Life Books for a while in the '80s as a telemarketer (I've gotten well, since, thanks), and ended up with the entire "Good Cook" collection, which I treasure. They are excellent books both as recipe sources and as a place to learn basic techniques. I've been dying for years to make the glazed honeycomb tripe recipe that is the cover shot of "Variety Meats".

                                                                "Foods of the World" I have a few of, and am always on the lookout for more. The tough thing with them is that each volume was two books: the large format color hardbound book with the background information and a handful of recipes, and a smaller, spiral-bound recipe book. It's easy to find the large format books, but the little recipe books don't seem to pop up as often in the used bookstores.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: GVDub
                                                                  CindyJ Nov 5, 2006 07:31 PM

                                                                  I've got about 15 of the FOW series. The spiral-bound books and an accompanying index booklet are well-used and sit on a shelf in my pantry closet; their large hardbound partners are boxed up (I think) in my attic. They're nice to look at, but not particularly useful, and take up too much room.

                                                                  1. re: GVDub
                                                                    mothrpoet Dec 1, 2006 08:46 PM

                                                                    So YOU were the telemarketer that got me hooked!IN the '80's, I had completed my set of Good Cook (with the exception of Variety Meats), when I received a call from Time-Life telling me about the Foods of the World series. I eagerly signed up. Much to my dismay, I only received a few books when I was informed that I would be receiving no more---they just hooked people like me to get rid of some unsold inventory. I was quite disappointed at not being able to receive the entire set, and think I should have been informed at the outset that the entire collection was not available. Nonetheless, I love both sets, and the Good Cook series serves as my Bible. I've been able to add to the FOW set as well, spiral books and all.
                                                                    It seems that Time-LIfe has just gone toward music collections. PIty, because their book collection over the years have been stellar.
                                                                    NO hard feelings, GVDub!

                                                                    1. re: GVDub
                                                                      Atlantis Dec 17, 2006 04:43 AM

                                                                      Ah, that gorgeous series, "Foods Of The World." Yes, they were a two-book item, and when the first spouse and I split up, I took the recipe books - the small, spiral-bound ones - and, believe me, I got the better part of that deal, because not all the recipes appeared in the larger volumes. They're VERY hard to find, I'm told, so I'm holding tightly to my complete set - which still gets used at least weekly. They're the best!

                                                                      1. re: Atlantis
                                                                        Atomica Dec 19, 2006 01:52 PM

                                                                        I frequent thrift stores and flea markets. While you do routinely see the larger volumes, the spiral-bound books are far from hard to find. They pop up everywhere, and can also be found very cheaply on eBay at any given moment. Right now someone is selling 8 of the spiral-bounds for about $15.

                                                                        1. re: Atomica
                                                                          Will Owen May 27, 2010 03:23 PM

                                                                          The list I got from the cookbook shop has the titles down one side, then a box for the main volume and one for the recipe book. WHEN I REMEMBER to take it with me on shopping forays it's easy to match what's on offer against what I have checked off or not.

                                                                    2. cayjohan Nov 1, 2006 07:54 PM

                                                                      Why doesn't Time Life reissue these books? Despite considering myself "knowledgable" about food, I am always amazed at the depth of both the Good Cook and Food of the World books. A lot of us baby boomers thought we were at the vanguard "back in the day," but one look at, say, "The Cooking of Japan," makes our sushi wanderings pale by comparison...and this was, what? 1967? 1968?. These are by far the most treasured books in my collection and I buy them whenever I can (even if that means seven copies of "A Quintet of Cuisines), so I can give them as gifts or start to amass a collection for my kids. The best part? Lots of food history and cultural reference, versus a series of recipes. Do you think Time Life will ever step up and reissue?

                                                                      1. Atomica Nov 1, 2006 01:13 PM

                                                                        We are in the middle of collecting the Good Cook series from various books sales and junk stores. This is a fantastic series with really great instructions on how to prepare complicated dishes.

                                                                        1. vogelap Oct 31, 2006 08:40 PM

                                                                          My wife gave me the complete series (all 28 books) for my 39th birthday (a week ago). I've already spent many hours going through the books. These are wonderful -- I can see using them a LOT.

                                                                          1. Funwithfood Aug 29, 2006 02:48 PM

                                                                            I posted on this article a few weeks ago. It was fascinating to learn about Richard Olney...what an interesting character. These books are great--they would never be published today because because there are so many color photos on each spread (color printing is $$$). {My books were purchased at thrift stores for only .98 cents each!}

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Funwithfood
                                                                              chowetta Aug 29, 2006 09:08 PM

                                                                              I haven't read the Gourmet article so I don't know if it mentioned that shortly after his death his book 'Reflextions' was published. I think that is the name- I am working off addled memory here.

                                                                              Anyway, it is full of menus of meals he ate or prepared with the wines served. He was a character.

                                                                              I also have most of the series- it is my go-to reference....

                                                                            2. f
                                                                              featherbooks Aug 29, 2006 03:46 AM

                                                                              The Time-Life Good Cook Series edited by Richard Olney is 28 excellent books by topic and, according to my bookcase, includes Beef & Veal, Bread, Beverages, Cake, Candy, Classic Desserts, Cookies & Crackers, Dried Beans & Grains, Eggs & Cheese, Fish, Fruit, Hors d'Oeuvres, Lamb, Outdoor Cooking, Pasta, Pie and Pastries, Pork, Poultry, Preserving, Salads, Sauces, Shellfish, Snacks & Sandwiches, Soup, Terrines, Variety Meats, Vegetables and Wine. It is a culinary education! With good (published elsewhere originally) recipes and photos of techniques. See http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives... for sample pictures.

                                                                              The Time Life Foods of the World Series is by country and had different editors for the various countries, i.e. M. F. K. Fisher for Provincial France, Emily Hahn for Cooking of China, Nika Hazelton for Cooking of Germany, Waverly Root for Cooking of Italy, Joseph Wechsberg for Cooking of Vienna's Empire, etc.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: featherbooks
                                                                                Noelly May 27, 2010 07:35 AM

                                                                                I have most of the time life good cook books and absolutely love them. Learning specific techniques as opposed to picking them up recipe by recipe is extremely powerful, and there are some wonderful techniques lost in time eg. boning a trout through the back, or a stuffed baron of lamb. The compiled techniques in the front half of the book also allow the recipes at the back to be delightfully brief and hence numerous. I'm a bit confused about the exact titles though, and wonder whether they changed with print runs. Featherbooks, your 28 stated titles sound like a complete set, but then i have a 'Patisserie' book, and also a 'fish and shellfish' - not separate titles, book. If anyone could shed any light on what really constitutes a whole set, that would be great. Does patisserie replace candy in later editions??? I won't hold my breath!

                                                                                1. re: Noelly
                                                                                  janniecooks May 27, 2010 11:17 AM

                                                                                  I have a complete set, not sure that there were any later editions. The title list provided by featherbooks is correct, except that Terrines is actually titled Terrines, Pates & Galantines. The original series did not include a title "Patisserie". The original set also came with a pamphlet on equipping your kitchen, but alas, that is long lost.

                                                                                  These are indeed wonderful books, and the list of contributors (different for each volume) is awesome. I use these books all the time.

                                                                                  1. re: Noelly
                                                                                    Mer_Made May 28, 2010 07:43 AM

                                                                                    I have 'Candy' and it just candy. IIRC, there were 2 different printings? editions? One was for the UK market and the other was for the US market. I think Patisserie was just printed for the UK market, and the US market got 'Pies and Pastries.'

                                                                                    1. re: Noelly
                                                                                      Ismelstar Dec 6, 2012 02:53 PM

                                                                                      While this is thread is old, I wanted to point out that there are two editions of the original set. One is US American and the other European. When I moved to London I had an almost complete set of the US editions and I adored them. A friend gave me bunch that he found on ebay, but they were all European: some had different titles. You can tell the difference on the title page, where the European version is published in Amsterdam as opposed to Alexandria, VA for the US version. Also, the European version has "UK Consultants" listed on the copyright page whereas the US version has "international consultants". And of course the European recipies use the metric system (grams and kilograms) instead of the English system (cup and ounces).

                                                                                      I compared quite a few of these side-by-side. For instance, the European 'Eggs and Cheese' volume has a greater examplage of cheese than the US version and basically condemns battery eggs in the introduction. It also included a Mac and Cheese recipe in the illustrated front section that is not even in the US version.

                                                                                      The European edition titles differ from the above complete list of US titles as follows: Beef & Veal, Breads, Beverages, Cakes and Pastries, Confectionery, Desserts, Eggs & Cheese, Fish and Shellfish, Fruits, Game, Grains Pasta and Pulses, Hot Hors d'Oeuvres, Lamb, Offal, Outdoor Cooking, Patisserie, Pork, Poultry, Preserving, Salads and Cold Hors d'Oeuvres, Sauces, Snacks & Canapes, Soup, Terrines Pates and Galtines, Vegetables, and Wine.

                                                                                  2. Will Owen Aug 10, 2006 07:49 PM

                                                                                    There's a used-cookbook store a few blocks from me. When I told the owner I was trying to assemble a collection of all that first series, both the hardbacks and the spiral-bound recipe books, she went to her computer and printed me out a complete list. I feel a little bad about the fact that I use her list when I go to flea markets and yard sales instead of paying her prices, but she's perfectly willing to horse-trade if I score duplicates, especially if I'm willing to swap a pristine "America: The Eastern Heartland" for a scuffed-up "Caribbean Islands"...

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                                                                      eve Aug 11, 2006 02:22 AM

                                                                                      The different series are available on ebay. I bought my copy on Austria that way.

                                                                                    2. s
                                                                                      Sherri Aug 8, 2006 07:27 PM

                                                                                      I believe there are actually two series of TIME-LIFE cookbooks that may qualify for this discussion. They were quite comprehensive for their time and well-received.

                                                                                      The first edition that I know of is COOKING OF PROVINCIAL FRANCE, by M.F.K. Fisher & Michael Field, 1968 and lists Julia Child as consultant. This series is categorized geographically, i.e. books are titled by the regions and countries. ITALY, GERMANY, CHINA, LATIN AMERICA etc. are represented. In addition to recipes, there is a lot of writing about the specific country and some photographs are included. A small, spiral-bound book containing the recipes (and no text) is designed to be used as the kitchen cookbook and accompanies the larger book.

                                                                                      The Richard Olney series mentioned in GOURMET, 1979, is by main ingredient, i.e. VEGETABLES, LAMB, PASTA, etc. These are mainly recipes and some books are categorized by cooking technique or specific ingredient. In the case of VEGETABLES it categorizes by type (pods & seeds, leaves, tubers, etc). There is no accompanying booklet for kitchen use.

                                                                                      Hope this helps clear the confusion -- and I was certainly confused by the GOURMET article inferring some rivalry between Ms. Child and Olney. Needless to drag dead people through the gutter over something that may or may not have happened many years ago.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Sherri
                                                                                        Neecies Oct 18, 2010 11:49 AM

                                                                                        The Food of the Worlds series is brilliant, and I refer to these books often. Recently, in fact, to prepare for a trip to Provence, this was the one volume I took the time to read before we left. These books are timeless. Do note, however, that the spiral bound books contain some recipes that aren't in the hardbound companion books, so you want both if you can get them. (The spiral recipe books are increasingly rare, of course.)

                                                                                        1. re: Neecies
                                                                                          buttertart Oct 18, 2010 12:19 PM

                                                                                          A thread you might be interested in...

                                                                                      2. j
                                                                                        Jaqir Aug 8, 2006 11:38 AM

                                                                                        I bought this series a gazillion years ago, and love them. A few years ago I had to get rid of some of the thousand cookbooks I had, but did keep 14 of them. The candy book I did get rid of (I never make candy). They are a great reference and do have some very good ideas and receipes. I'm happy I have them. I have enjoyed them over the years. I'd recommend them.

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