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Overview

Recently, while moving into a new house, Elizabeth Gilbert unpacked some boxes of family books that had been sitting in her mother's attic for decades. Among the old, dusty hardcovers was a book called At Home on the Range (or, How To Make Friends with Your Stove) by Gilbert's great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter. Having only been peripherally aware of the volume, Gilbert dug in with some curiosity, and soon found that she had stumbled upon a book far ahead of its time. In her workaday cookbook, Potter ...
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At Home on the Range

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Overview

Recently, while moving into a new house, Elizabeth Gilbert unpacked some boxes of family books that had been sitting in her mother's attic for decades. Among the old, dusty hardcovers was a book called At Home on the Range (or, How To Make Friends with Your Stove) by Gilbert's great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter. Having only been peripherally aware of the volume, Gilbert dug in with some curiosity, and soon found that she had stumbled upon a book far ahead of its time. In her workaday cookbook, Potter espoused the importance of farmer's markets and ethnic food (Italian, Jewish, and German), derided preservatives and culinary shortcuts, and generally celebrated a devotion to seeking out new epicurean adventures. Potter takes car trips out to Pennsylvania Dutch country to eat pickled pork products, and during World War II she cajoles local poultry farmers into saving buckets of coxcombs for her so she can try to cook them in the French manner. She takes trips to the eastern shore of Maryland, where she learns to catch and prepare eels so delicious, she says, they must be "devoured in a silence almost devout." Part scholar—she includes a great recipe from 1848 for boiled sheep head—and part crusader for a more open food conversation than currently existed, it's not hard to see from where Elizabeth Gilbert inherited both her love of food, and her warm, infectious prose.

Featuring a comprehensive and moving introduction from Potter's great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Gilbert, At Home on the Range is an eminently usable and humorous cookbook. But it's also more than that: it's an heirloom, an into-the-wee-hours dinner with relatives and ancestors, a perfect gift for anybody with a stove or a mother.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In 1947, an unknown home cook named Margaret Yardley Potter published a book entitled At Home on the Range (or, How to Make Friends with Your Stove). Submerged beneath that quirky title was a wealth of kitchen wisdom and recipes that gathered dust until novelist Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), Potter's great-granddaughter, happened upon the hand-me-down while unpacking boxes of books after a move. Yielding to curiosity, Gilbert discovered that her now-deceased ancestor was no culinary fossil: Her fervent advocacy for fresh ingredients and ethnic cuisines and her strong distaste for preservatives put her decades ahead of most of her cookbook contemporaries. With its thoughtful introduction by Gilbert, this heirloom both charms and instructs. More than a novelty.

Edward Ash-Milby

Christine Muhlke
…pure reading pleasure…Potter was a broad of the first order. Adventurous and funny, she could have drunk and smoked Elizabeth David, M. F. K. Fisher and probably even Dorothy Parker under the table.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Author Elizabeth Gilbert (A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage) does a wonderful service by bringing back the opinionated, modern-for-its-time cookbook of her eccentric great-grandmother “Gima” Yardley Potter, first published in 1947. A woman who came from a wealthy Main Line Philadelphia family, married a profligate lawyer in the plentiful 1920s, and gradually had to come down in the world, Gima discarded the cook within the first three years of her marriage and energetically took charge of her own kitchen, learning from trial and error the art of entertaining myriad surprise guests her husband brought home and generally making-do while keeping everybody happy and well fed. Her upbeat tone that so impressed Gilbert when she finally read the cookbook braces the reader delightfully, from Gima’s merry use of calf’s brains and cockscombs (“with wine”) to relaying how to make what was then a rather curious, palate-wowing ethnic find called pizza. Chapters are devoted lovingly to what foods best to bring hospitalized friends, mastering cocktails, and organizing emergency meals and effortless entertaining. In her bright, determined tone (“Is your cigarette finished? Let’s go”), Yardley Potter assures us a generation before Julia Child that we can tackle bouillabaisse, preserves, bread, and grandmother’s sacred sponge cake. (May)
From the Publisher
“She could have drunk and smoked Elizabeth David, M.F.K. Fisher and probably even Dorothy Parker under the table.” —The New York Times

“A cookbook for modern times and modern cooks, full of sassy jokes and smartly written recipes.” —Bon Appetit

“Delightfully humorous and remarkably insightful.” —Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781938073113
  • Publisher: McSweeney's Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/17/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 915,763
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Margaret Yardley Potter's book is culled from a lifetime of cooking and entertaining in her home, from the 1920s through World War II. In addition to being a cooking columnist for the Wilmington Star, she also painted, sold dresses, assisted in the birth of four grandchildren, and took up swing piano.

Elizabeth Gilbert is the bestselling author of numerous books, including Eat, Pray, Love, now a major motion picture. In 2008, Time magazine named Elizabeth as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    The diary of a foodie.

    What a treasure! How many times do we miss the dishes that were our favorites during our youth? The hands that prepared them are gone and too often they never wrote down the "secret formulas" that made them so wonderful. Thank goodness that Elizabeth Gilbert's family has a genetic gift for recording the truly meaningful adventures in their lives! A good lesson for all of us.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2012

    If you enjoy cooking, as I do, you will find this a fun book!

    Very interesting reading re. cooking in the "old days."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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