Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.

To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard... MORE

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Vintage Vegetables

Sitting here staring at a huge pile of vegetables from the farmers market, trying to figure out what to cook. Trolling through a pile of old Gourmet Magazines, I came upon a couple of interesting old recipes. These are retro classics,far richer than anything a modern cook is likely to come up with. Both intrigue me: the braised cucumbers, because...

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More Vintage Gourmet: August 1951

I love these old Rheingold ads. With their perennially blond women doing their best to make a working class quaff classy, they say so much about the culture of the time, But you don't need to stick to the ads to for that information. The recipes also tell us a lot about the times. Here, for instance, are a couple...

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A Vintage Surprise: Bindaeduk

Today’s Gourmet is from 1982, but if you excise the airbrushing and the ads - mostly for cigarettes and booze - it’s easy to feel that you're floating in ambiguous culinary time. Sitting down with this issue, I’m transported to Cartagena (eating ceviches and rich soups), and then South Carolina, where I’m drinking an egg white cocktail (which was, of...

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