Patsy, on the other hand, took a more focused approach. She ordered the Grand Diplome Cooking Course - a magazine series that promises that you'll "learn to cook the International Cordon Bleu way." Each week, she received an issue in the mail (cost=95 cents) - and she kept up with it for at least 22 weeks.
Every issue covers a couple of cooking subjects that would've been important to the early 70s entertainer. Issue number two, for example, offers a menu for an informal supper with friends, a tutorial on pie pastry-making (with numerous pie recipes), and a section of recipes that focus on boiling and steaming. There's a glossary, a guide to key kitchen equipment, and a brief biography of the issue's "consultant chef" (in #2, that happens to be Serge Prat of L'Etoile in New York). Recipes are illustrated by color photos and the only ads are for Grand Diplome products, like an "improved parsley grinder" for $7.95.
A couple of weeks ago, Patsy had dug out her entire Grand Diplome collection in a fruitless search for some old recipe she used to love. I happened to spot one of the books sitting on a table at their house and, obviously, I couldn't put it down. Living food history!
I asked if I could borrow one of the books to do some reading (and some scanning) and the next thing I knew, I had a nearly complete collection - issues 2 through 22 with only a couple missing in between.
With that, my new project was born. I'm going to cook my way through the course. Kind of. Every week (or so), I'll make a recipe or two from one of the issues and then I'll write about both the recipe and the issue, complete with photos and scanned images. The whole collection of posts will be right here.
I think it's going to be pretty cool...