At Home on the Range
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At Home on the Range

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  150 ratings  ·  37 reviews
While unpacking boxes of old family books recently, Elizabeth Gilbert rediscovered a dusty, yellowed hardcover called At Home on the Range, originally written by her 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. Part s...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by McSweeney's (first published April 1st 1947)
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Anna
The first thing you need to know is this book was originally published in 1947. It is being republished by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and great-granddaughter of the author. Her proceeds from this book are being donated to ScholarMatch, which I think is lovely. Now, the fact that this book was published in 1947 is relevant for a number of reasons. The first is that this was shortly after meat rationing for the war. I liked this because there are a lot of recipes for different w...more
Mandolin

When you make something meaningful of your life, using it to touch the lives of others, your legacy will long outlast you and you will never quite be dead, as long as people continue to benefit from your memory and your legacy of giving. Elizabeth Gilbert, the well-known author, saw this truth played out in her own great-grandmother's life. Growing up hearing stories about Margaret Potter, it was only when she stumbled upon this cookbook, originally published in 1947, that she was finally able t...more
Emily
A fun, cute, quick read, with some witty recipes. I love "vintage" cooking books like this--they give me a good feel for how cooking used to be (at least for a certain income level.) It's very much like "Little Heathens", if you read that, at least in the cooking parts of that book.
Diane
I loved this book! If you like to read good books that contain lots of recipes, I think you will love it, too. The old-fashioned recipes are written in "story form" and the author has a wonderful sense of humor - if a sometimes strange taste for food. But at least recipes for things like Brains with Black Butter and Stewed Calf's Head don't send you scurrying to the kitchen intent on wrecking your diet for all time! I do hope to try quite a few of the recipes, however, like Sour Milk Hot Cakes a...more
Gail
Perhaps the best book on successful strategies for entertaining I've ever read. Many readers seem not to like it because the recipes are provided in paragraph form, but they are easily followed. In any event, the value of the book, in my opinion, is that it encourages the host to think strategically about what matters in feeding and entertaining guests, not in terms of lists of ingredients. The tone is bright and breezy, altogether a delightful read.
Cyndy
I have always liked to read cookbooks. This book is like a dream come true - a cookbook written as prose. It's hard to believe the woman writing these recipes was from the early part of the 20th century. She was clearly ahead of her time. I especially liked her comment about not liking the Parmeson cheese in the green can. I concur!

I'm already thinking of someone I can give this to as a gift!
Bookaholic
Carte de bucate, ospitalitate şi poveşti minunate de Margaret Yardley Potter (Editura Humanitas, trad. Anca Bărbulescu) nu este atît o carte cu reţete de mîncare, cît un fel de memorii despre cum se gătea şi cum se trăia într-o familie înstărită de americani din suburbiile Philadephiei în anii dintre războaie şi imediat după.

A fost prima data publicată în 1947 şi, gîndindu-mă la rafturile cu conserve şi semipreparate care au saturat imaginarul pop al acelei perioade, reţetele ei sînt la fel de c...more
Crystal
I read this book cover to cover. I loooooved the author's voice and sass, I loved how the recipes expect you to know how to cook, and I love how forward-thinking this cook was in 1947. I got this from the library but I'll be buying it as soon as I have to return it. I have the cruller dough chilling in the fridge now. :)
Laura
I really love old cookbooks - they're an incredible way to see how women before us lived, how people celebrated, saved money, spent their time. And when you update the recipes with modern notation (as Gilbert does to 10 at the end), these recipes are actually still pretty useful.

The best chapters here were drinks, parties, desert and vegetables. The chapter groupings are unique (what to make for a sick person? for unexpected guests?) and it's obvious Potter was an incredible hostess. She's funny...more
Abby
This is a fun and whimsical cookbook written by Elizabeth Gilbert's great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter. Potter was ahead of her time in advocating for time-saving recipes, locally sourced ingredients, adventurous ethnic eating (e.g. Italian pizza pie and chicken curry), hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and even women's independence.

Potter begins each chapter with interesting personal anecdotes written in her trademark clever, quipping tone. She also provides fun, practical tips for difficul...more
Joyce
Y'know? I wish I could remember just how I stumble upon books like this! OK, I recognized Elizabeth Gilbert as the author of "Eat, Pray, Love" and this cookbook is by her great-grandmother, who must have been a kick! The book was originally published in 1947 and dedicated to Ms. Gilbert's Aunt Nancy, "whom the author described as a five-year-old child already in possession of the "two prime requisites of a good cook: a hearty appetite and a sense of humor."" Hear, hear! That introductory paragra...more
Shannon
Jul 19, 2012 Shannon is currently reading it
After reading a magazine article about this book, I immediately ordered a copy via Amazon.com on my cell phone. My first cell phone purchase. haha

I've had the book for over a month, but last night I decided to look it over. I already knew it was half story and half recipe. Wow. I was sucked in immediatly. It wasn't until much later, when I finally read the book jacket that I realized the author's great granddaughter was Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat, Pray, Love.

I never wanted to read that book...more
Amy
Nov 05, 2012 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: food
"Eat, Pray, Love"'s Elizabeth Gilbert presents a long-forgotten cookbook published by her great-grandmother postwar, with foreword and afternotes. As someone who has a small but meaningful collection of cookbooks from the 1910s through the 50s, this book fits right in with a little something extra. The original author is wry, tremendously witty, practical, and fun to read; her great-granddaughter supplies the rest of the story, which makes the original that much more poignant reading.

Economy st...more
Carolyn
I didn't get a chance to finish this, but I enjoyed the parts I did read. I was a little skeptical at first, since I don't particularly like Elizabeth Gilbert, but her grandmother proves to be hilarious. The recipes were a little difficult to follow (they are written in paragraphs), but they are organized into chapters based on situation, like meals for entertaining on a long weekend at the beach. The delightful part of this book comes from remembering that it was originally published in 1947, w...more
Teatime Reader
Claiming that a hearty appetite and a good sense of humour were the only requirements for a good cook, At Home on the Range encourages others to employ those same virtues in their own homemaking. Potter learns how to make pizza from an Italian grocer back when international food was scandalous. She plans menus and organizes household chores to free up her time during the summer when guests are likely to drop by and stay for a week. And in the winter months, when colds and flus are making the rou...more
Michaela
I love to cook and discover new recipes and I also loved Eat, Pray, Love. So, I thought this book would be perfect, I must admit that I didn't fully read what the book was about other than cooking. I bought the book at Elizabeth Gilbert's store in NJ. It was a hardcover and was signed. I was sold! While reading the book I couldn't get past the recipes and the story. Personally I would prefer one or the other. I never realized that I like my recipes written in a certain way until this book. I rea...more
Meg Dean
The layout of this ebook is awful! There is no indication of what recipe begins/ends where. Could not finish this one.
Missy
Interesting from a historical perspective on cooking
Christina Dudley
A fun skim. Elizabeth Gilbert's grandma had a humorous, make-it-work spirit. Most of her "recipes" are way too much work, even if you could convince your family to eat them (e.g., kidney stew, calves' brains, fruitcake!!), but they're fascinating. And some, like the pickle and tomato and salad recipes sounded genuinely tasty. The poor woman seemed to deal with an endless stream of surprise dinner guests, which perhaps explains why she tried once to leave her husband or why she eventually died of...more
Diana Duncan
This was a very interesting work of culinary history. Potter was very much ahead of her time, with an interest in seeking out the cuisines of of cultures. The recipes are written in a descriptive way, rather than in the way modern cookbooks list the ingredients and then the instructions. The text was full of amusing quips. I have not tried any of the recipes yet, though I'm not sure how many things I would actually cook--I don't eat read meat. Some of the side dishes did look very interesting.
Laura
Oh, this is such a wonderful book to just flip through a bit. I didn't study the recipes all that much but this is much more than a cookbook. It's a wonderful peek into life with no easy electric ovens and how this woman managed to cook and entertain so ambitiously without the modern conveniences we are used to. And even better, this woman has a wonderful sense of humor and seems like such a special person! What a fun, impressive ancestor to have in your family!
Peggy
This book is a hoot! Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, came across her great-grandmother's cookbook/journal and has published it. Great-grandmother was quite the character and quite the drinker. I enjoyed the book and copied down a couple of recipes. However, I did skip the sections on eel, tripe, kidney, and calf's brains--definitely not my thing. I'm practically a vegetarian for Pete's sake!
Terra
Very enjoyable! I'm a lover of vintage cookbooks and have an interest in culinary history. This is a light and fun read. Huge bonuses: the narrative is fantastic, you'll find a bunch of useful tips for cooking and entertaining, and there are actually a lot of great-looking recipes - making this book very useful as well as amusing. Highly recommended for foodie-types.
Karen
Fun read. Great stories of a woman who was unique for her time Like Julia, fearless with food and fun
Breeze through recipes poured forth from Italian Pizza Pie in 1928 to Salad a La Rouse and pit Roast in the 1940s and 1950s
She must have been quite a character. No wonder her great granddaughter thought her book was worth reprinting
Jeannette
A quirky little cookbook from days long gone by. It's charming (it's published by McSweeney's and the cover & book design are perfect) and sweet and a good look at one woman's interesting life and the food that makes her happy. While the some of the recipes and ingredients are dated and a bit wacky, I enjoyed the long-form write ups. 3.5 stars.
Nicole
I literally laughed-out-loud at numerous points throughout this book. Yes, it's a cookbook - but it was written in the 1940s in narrative style and the author is hilarious. Really interesting in terms of food and social history as well. Most readers will find many of the recipes and meal suggestions antiquated, but it's interesting.
Kyla
If I had discovered this in a box of my relative's writing, I would have tried to get it published too. It's so chatty and lovely in the way cookbooks often were, full of advice. The recipes are not the star here. It is the woman behind them - and the very nice book design too! I am buying it for my own cookbook shelves.
kristy
very enjoyable! love her voice, which forces you to even read the recipes so you don't miss anything. it's a funny mix of an old-fashioned sensibility with a contemporary bite.

and for the eat pray love haters, all proceeds go to benefit scholarmatch, one of 826 valencia's great projects.
Amy Houck
Elizabeth Gilbert says that her great grandmother is a combination of MFK Fisher and Julia Child--I'd have to agree. More prose than recipes, but more recipes than memoir, this book is funny and a great look at life and food on the East Coast during and after WWII.
Kimberly
A nice nostalgic read that will make you so very glad you don't have to cook the way that they did back in the day. So many of these recipes would be beyond my skill, but she explains them as though anyone could make them. Nice intro by Elizabeth Gilbert.
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“The sticky heaps of jellied marshmallows and tinted fruit that appear on too many tables should be shudderingly avoided along with their sickeningly sweet mayonnaise but my POTATO SALAD is something quite different.” 1 likes
“You will find this to be a more oniony soup than the usual kind but, as the cross old lady said when a stranger told her that her slip was showing, "I like it that way.” 1 likes
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