Books for Cooks
new & old books about wine, food & the culinary arts bought & sold
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Reciprocal to IOBA members in good standing
More about this bookseller
Australia's independent specialist & antiquarian cookbook bookshop for foodies, chefs, armchair gastronauts, winelovers right in the heart of Melbourne, open every day.
We are a small independent, culinary specialist bookstore owned by cooks & lovers of good food; situated at the Queen Victoria Market, right in the heart of Melbourne, a UNESCO City of Literature . We cater for armchair cooks, professional chefs, winemakers and avid foodies and stock over 40,000 new, old, vintage & antiquarian books and ephemera on wine, food & the culinary arts.
All of our books are some how about food or drink. Whether antiquarian and vintage books or the latest new books on food, wine and cooking, our interests include agriculture, dining, food history, artisanal food production and drinks. About half our stock is new. Although our stock is mostly from the 20th century, we have a growing range of books from earlier periods. We also have an increasing stock of related ephemera, pamphlets and menus.
We are members of:
- International League of Antiquarian Booksellers,
- Australian & New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers,
- International Online Booksellers Association,
- Australian Booksellers Association,
- Ephemera Society of Australia; and,
- Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand
Books for Cooks opened in Wattletree Rd, Melbourne in 1983 and for many years was run by Margit & Pearl as a part-time labour of love. In early 2000, Tim & Amanda realised a long held dream and bought a tiny bookstore about wine and food and moved it to 'bohemian' Gertrude St, Fitzroy. After 16 years having outgrown our Fitzroy home, we moved to the Munro Buildings at the Queen Victoria Market. And, in 2018, with the beginning of the Queen Victoria Market renewal program, we moved to the Heritage listed Market shops on the other side of the Market at 115-121 Victoria Street, Queen Victoria Market.
Along the way we've been recognised as Victorian Specialist Bookseller of the Year on several occasions. And CNN once described us as "one of the coolest bookstores in the world". In 2019 we were recognised by Queen Victoria Market customers as one of their favourite businesses.
- provide a free search service for hard-to-find or out-of-print cookbooks
- ship worldwide
- offer in-store lay-by (4 weeks, 20% deposit – terms apply)
- issue gift vouchers that don’t expire (any value)
- appraise and value cookbook collections and books on food and drink
- provide quotes and a replacement service for insurance claims for lost cookbooks
We are always interested in buying large or small collections of good books, and rare or unusual items including maps, posters, pamphlets and ephemera; so long as they relate somehow to food and/or drink.
If you are a library or educational institution, please ask about the special services and arrangements we provide.
For us, avid food lovers, cooks and cookbook collectors for years, owning a culinary bookstore was a long cherished dream; and now we've made it our life. Cookbooks clutter our house and dining table and if we are not reading one, we are usually cooking from another.
Amanda has worked as a professional cook, caterer, cake maker and kitchen manager. Her particular passion is baking but she will give anything a go! Tim is passionate about wine, food, jazz and books (not necessarily in that order). He has worked in restaurants, pubs and the food industry. Tim is an avid bibliophile and he has long had an interest in the history, sociology, science and literature of food (and books!). His particular passions are European style peasant food and wine. Tim is also a former board member and president of the Australian Booksellers Association and a current board member of ANZAAB.
Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management
Mrs Beeton's Household Management: a complete cookery book.
Ward Lock & Co: London, UK (nd) (c1928). Demy 8vo (215x140mm) HC Faux Morocco Qtr Bnd, tan bds xvi,1680,[10 ads]pp.
VG/- minor rubbing on cnrs; some light foxing.
A very good tight 'New' economy edition 'strongly bound' (incorporating over 4,000 recipes from Mr Charles Herman Senn) brought up to date to take account of the ongoing labour shortage and the economic circumstances in the UK in the late 1920s.
'A complete cookery book with sections on household work, servants' duties, labour saving, laundry work, etiquitete, marketing, carving & trussing, the art of 'using-up', table decoration, the home doctor, the nursery, the home lawyer etc...with 32 plates in colour and nearly 700 illustrations."
Recipes originally attributed to the colonies are now described as being from the Dominions.
[Dated 1928 by reference to the new 1927 Valor-Perfection Oil Cooking Stove]
Mrs Maclurcan's Cookery Book
Maclurcan, H. [ Hannah 1860-1936]
Mrs Maclurcan's Cookery Book: a collection of practical recipes specially suitable for Australia - 8th Edition revised & enlarged.
Melbourne: George Robertson & Co, 1908 (printed by Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome & London)
8vo (185x135mm) Hardcover Quarter Bound Beige Cloth, professionally rebacked cloth spine, black lettered boards [vi],482,pp. Possibly lacks front & rear free endpapers (?); small tear (no loss of text) to preface p [v]; front advert toned; boards lightly stained, worn & rubbed, cnrs rounded; edges spotted; very occassional spotting to text, some pencil notations. A solid, complete clean copy of a scarce text.
Born to English/Scottish Jewish hotelier parents in Brisbane in 1860, Hannah Maclurcan (nee Phillips, formerly Wigham) was a signicant Australian hotelier, publican, food writer. She grew up in hotels, working every section starting in the kitchens. By 1875 (aged 15) she was managing one of the family's hotels. Married in 1880, she was widowed, and in 1887 she married Donald Maclurcan, a hotelier. Together they ran significant hotels in Townsville, Queensland. In 1898 she self-published her Cookery Book in Townsville, which was to run to 20 editions by 1930. In 1901 she and her husband took on the lease of the Wentworth Hotel Sydney, and after she was widowed a third time in 1903, she managed the hotel herself, buying the freehold in 1912 and turning the Wentworth into a grand hotel renowned for its fine cuisine and cold buffets; the centre of Sydney society and the favourite of celebrity guests (including The Prince of Wales in 1920). Hannah Maclurcan continued as the Managing Director of the Wentworth Hotel until 1932.
One of Australia's early 'local' cookery books, 'Mrs Maclurcan's Cookery Book' includes recipes using indigenous, local and tropical ingredients (e.g. pineapple, prickly pear, rosellas, kangaroo, wallaby, barramundi) and arguably shows the influence of Chinese immigration and labour in Far North Queensland at the time (e.g. Beche-de-Mer Soup, Devilled Whitebait, Fried Rice with chili, and the use of fresh (not powdered) ginger in Kangaroo tail soup & other dishes). A number of Jewish recipes are also included and seperately identified.
This 1908 edition also incorporates recipes relevant to the establishment of the Wentworth Hotel as one of the 'Grand Hotels' of the Southern Hemisphere and shows Australian cuisine at the height of Federation, just before World War I. Indicative of the financial success of the author is the lack of advertisments for anything other than her own products, Champagne & High Class Drinks and the Wentworth Hotel.
OCLC records only 1 physical copy of this edition held State Library NSW; and only 2 physical copies of any editions held outside of Australia.
[Hoyle 791-792 other editions; Austin p78; Driver 657-8 other editions; Ferguson 12090-1 other editions]
Almanach des Gourmands
DE LA REYNIERE, Grimod [Alexandre Balthazar Laurent (1758 - 1838)]
Almanach des Gourmands
Paris: Chez Maradan, 1804 - 1805
Originally a successful theatre critic, de la Reyniere was 'encouraged' in the late 18th century by The Directorate to stop using theatrical reviews to criticise the State and to write about something 'harmless or not at all'. de la Reyniere turned to his other love – food. Some years later, whilst dining with the publisher Marand, he hit upon the idea of the Almanach.
With Marand's encouragement, he took just 25 days to write the first volume of the Almanach in 1803. After the success of the first volume, he established a 'Jury Degustation' comprising a select number of gourmands who met in some secrecy (in all some 465 times over the next 8 years) to taste, consider and evaluate dishes submitted by caterers, restaurateurs, and the public alike. A precursor of things to come, dishes were served without servants and 'a la russe’. *
Each volume of Almanach des Gourmands consisted of a series of articles on food and foodstuffs, gastronomic articles and a guide to the restaurants and providores of Paris, an early forerunner of the food, shopping, and restaurant guides of the late 20th century.
Although there are 8 volumes of Almanach des Gourmands published between 1803 and 1812, this three-volume set is a complete set of the volumes available to purchase in 1806.
All three volumes bear the armorial bookplate of Henry Peters, Esq on the front paste-down. Henry Peters (1762-1827) was an extremely wealthy banker (a partner in Masterman & Co) and the son of George Peters, ex-Governor of the Bank of England. He was the Mayor of Teddington, the MP for Oxford from 1796-1802, from 1798 the owner of Betchworth Castle in Surrey and a patron of the architect John Soanes who undertook significant works for Peters in both London and Surrey. In 1806, Soanes extensively remodelled Peters' London townhouse. It is not hard to speculate that during this time Peters sojourned in Paris, dining out with the assistance of these volumes; particularly given their uniform contemporary binding; and were the only volumes published and available for purchase at this time.
Volume 1: Premiere Annee, Troiseme Edition
Chez Maradan, Libraire, rue Pavee-Saint-Andre-des-Ares, no 16. AN XII - 1804.
16mo (135x90mm) half bound green leather over red and green marbled boards; spine gilt lettered; red and green marbled edges; [4 blank], half-title, xviii (including frontispiece), 280, , [5 blank] pp. Engraved frontispiece 'Bibliotheque d'un Gourmand du XIX siecle' by the author, drawn by 'N' [the painter Neveu] and engraved by 'M'.
Light foxing to prelims and occasionally throughout; 3cm tear to p.55 not affecting text, p101-104 bound adjacent out of sequence. Corners bruised, edges worn and rubbed, boards lightly soiled and sunned. Text and binding tight and clean.
Volume 2: Seconde Annee, Seconde Edition
De l'imprimerie de Cellot. Chez Maradan, Libraire, rue des Grands-Augustins, no 29. AN XIII - 1805.
16mo (135x90mm) half bound green leather over red and green marbled boards; spine gilt lettered; red and green marbled edges; [4 blank], half-title, , [1 blank], frontispiece, titlepage, , xxii, , 24-306, [4 blank] pp. Engraved frontispiece 'Les audiences d'un Gourmand' by the author, drawn by Dunant and engraved by Mariage. Original marker ribbon.
Light foxing to prelims and occasionally throughout; small loss to edges pps 25, 35, and 97, not affecting text. Corners bruised, edges worn and rubbed, boards lightly soiled and sunned. Text and binding tight and clean.
Volume 3: Troiseme Annee, [Premiere Edition]
De l'imprimerie de Cellot. Chez Maradan, Libraire, rue des Grands-Augustins, no 29. AN XIII - 1805.
16mo (135x90mm) half bound green leather over red and green marbled boards; spine gilt lettered; red and green marbled edges; [4 blank], half-title, , [1 blank], frontispiece, titlepage, , v-xiv, , 336, [4 blank] pp. Engraved frontispiece 'Seance d'un Jury de Gourmands degustateurs' by the author, drawn by Dunant and engraved by Maradan. Original marker ribbon present but not attached.
Light foxing to prelims and occasionally throughout; small loss to edges pps 61, 68, 143, 164, 217, 233, 245, and 251, not affecting text. Corners bruised, edges worn and rubbed, boards lightly soiled and sunned. Text and binding tight and clean.
A nice early set. In French
Bitting 201ff; Vicaire 424-425; Oberle 133; Simon cf 795-799; Cagle 'A Matter of Taste' cf 224-226; * A Palate in Revolution by Giles MacDonagh pps 63-70.
The Experienced English Housekeeper
RAFFALD, Elizabeth [Whitaker, (1733 – 1781)]
The Experienced English Housekeeper: for the use and ease of ladies, housekeepers, cooks etc. written purely from practice. Dedicated to the Hon Lady Elizabeth Warburton whom the author lately served as housekeeper. Consisting of several hundred original receipts, most of which never appeared in print. A New Edition in which are inserted some celebrated receipts by other modern authors.
London: the booksellers & by T. Wilson & R. Spence, Printers, High-Ousegate, York 1806. Printed at the office of T. Wilson & R. Spence, High-Ousegate, York.
8vo (210x130mm) half tan calf over marbled boards, six compartments, gilt lettered & decorated , [frontispiece], vii,, [plate],397,,  pp. Engraved frontispiece of an older Mrs Raffald attributed to Hampton, Prince & Cattles, York (silversmiths of York) and three folding plates, one of a stove and two table settings.
New endpapers, recently professionally rebound. Frontispiece lightly soiled, small tear to bottom edge not affecting the text; light water-stain to first 50pps including plate 1; several neat pencil marks, else clean throughout; top right corner of title page torn (presumably removal of previous owner’s name) not affecting the text.
Raffald was an extraordinary woman for her time, in addition to writing this book, establishing Manchester’s newspaper, first post office, first street directories, as well as two inns, a servant’s placement agency, a cookery school, a pastrycooks’ shop, and a pleasure garden, as well as allegedly having some 15 or 16 children in as many years (she died when 48). First published in 1769, this was an extremely popular, and much pirated work. Its popularity can be attributed to its simplicity and clarity, a style akin to the next generation’s Eliza Acton. Many preserving and still-room recipes are included.
This edition is not recorded in the usual bibliographies. Oxford p.98 notes a 13th ed published 1806 as does Simon 1249 and Vicaire p727, but not this version. Cagle at 944-953 (953 particularly) and Aylett & Ordish’s First Catch Your Hare at p130, suggest that this is a reprint (pirated?) of the first edition. Maclean, pp121-124, Bitting p387, Hazlitt p176 and Pennell p161, all list earlier editions.
OCLC records only four copies of this edition