myra waldo photo(left) Photo of Myra Waldo from a magazine ad.

*The following article was originally written for the CCE (Cookbook Collectors Exchange, a newsletter) in 2001. At that time, I was unable to unearth ANY information about the whereabouts of Myra Waldo, much less whether or not she was still alive. I even wrote to a prominent used book dealer in NYC who had been featured a number of times in cooking magazines; he’d never even heard of her! Internet searches failed to reveal any information about Myra either before or after my article was published in 2001. Now, a decade later, I decided to update the article for my blog. Dutifully, I entered her name on Google.com again—and much to my surprise, this time I was rewarded with obituary details. The answer to “Where’s Waldo” will be found at the end of this article.

In 2001, I had written:
Where’s Waldo? No, not the cartoon character that is hidden in a maze of pictures for kiddies to search through – this time the Waldo is Myra Waldo, someone you may or may not have heard of, depending on how extensive your collection of cookbooks happens to be or how knowledgeable you are about cookbook authors of the past.

When my curiosity about Myra Waldo was first piqued, a dig through my own cookbook shelves unearthed seven old paperback cookbooks, three of which were duplicates (with two different cover designs). Since then, I have acquired a respectable stack of Myra Waldo’s cookbooks, some through the Internet (Alibris.com), some from Carolyn George, a cookbook seller, with whom I became acquainted through the Cookbook Collectors Exchange, a few that CCE publisher Sue Erwin unearthed and even one that I located in a used bookstore. I already had this one title but bought it anyway, because it was only $2.50. (I always figure I can find a home someday for the duplicates).

Actually, I became interested in Myra Waldo in a roundabout way (I sometimes feel like Alice falling into the rabbit hole—one thing seems to lead to another). I was doing some research on Molly Goldberg, for a reason I no longer recall—it might have been in connection with my research on old time radio programs. During an Internet search on Google.com, I came across an article in which a writer accused Molly Goldberg and Myra Waldo of being one and the same person. OK, for all the youngsters out there, your first question may be “Well, who was Molly Goldberg?”)—so I will have to digress a bit, and no, they were not one and the same person).

Molly Goldberg was, in real life, Gertrude Berg. Gertrude Berg was an actress, born in 1899, who debuted in 1929 with her own radio show on NBC, “The Rise of the Goldbergs”, later shortened to simply “The Goldbergs”. It was second only to Amos & Andy in popularity. (Please don’t write to ask me who Amos & Andy were.) What’s even more incredible, given the times (when women were expected to stay at home, barefoot and pregnant), Gertrude Berg was the creator, principle writer and star of this weekly comedy series. Berg wrote most of the episodes, which, after a twenty-year run, numbered over 5,000. It may be hard to imagine, but in the decades prior to television, radio was made up extensively of shows—some as short as 15 minutes, most a half hour long—comedy, mystery, western, drama—you name it.

(In 1994, I wrote an article titled “DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL” which appeared in the May/June 1994 issue of the CCE. There were, in addition to all of the story-line shows, radio recipe programs too, a forerunner of today’s television cooking Shows. I rewrote and shortened “Don’t Touch that Dial” for my blog, renaming it “When Radio Was King” which was a June, 2009, post on this blog).

“The Goldbergs” followed the adventures of Molly Goldberg and her husband Jake, and their family through life’s everyday problems. The program had a phenomenal 17-year run starting in 1930. In 1949, the radio program made a successful transition to television. Truthfully, I don’t remember the radio version of the Goldbergs but I do remember the television show, which ran for about five years on TV. (We had the first television set on our street; my father loved having whatever was new and innovative in the way of appliances and household things). When it became clear that television shows of this genre were on their way out, Golberg revamped her show, moved “the family” to the suburbs and renamed the series “Molly”. Gertrude Berg passed away in 1966.

By this time you are probably wondering just what Myra Waldo has to do with Molly Goldberg. Just this: In 1955, Myra Waldo and Molly Goldberg collaborated on “THE MOLLY GOLDBERG JEWISH COOKBOOK”.
Molly is the primary character through the cookbook, speaking in first person, staying in her Molly Goldberg character, but Myra Waldo undoubtedly put most of it together. “THE MOLLY GOLDBERG JEWISH COOKBOOK”, published in 1955, was a combination celebrity/radio show cookbook and it remains in circulation to this day. I have a hardcover copy that is in fine condition. (I think I bought it from Jessica’s Biscuit, a cookbook seller).

But this is just one of the many cookbooks written or co-authored by Myra Waldo, whose first cookbook was published, I believe, in 1954.

So, who’s Myra Waldo? I’m glad you asked, but have to admit, it hasn’t been easy to learn much about this elusive cookbook author. The dust jackets of her cookbooks offer very little in the way of biographical information, and often it’s the same few paragraphs in dust jacket after dust jacket. More can be gleaned from the pages of her cookbooks, but, unlike James Beard and Elizabeth David, and the host of other cookbook authors who have had biographies written about them, there is little to be discovered about the private life of Myra Waldo.

Myra Waldo was a cooking expert and a world traveler and may have been the world’s most traveled cook for her time. She was a food consultant for Pan American Airways who, with her husband, attorney Robert J. Schwarz, traveled all over the world. During the decades in which she compiled numerous cookbooks, she was a familiar figure on radio and television, and in newspapers and magazines. In addition to being the food consultant for Pan Am, Myra arranged a monthly regional dinner for the Overseas Press Club in New York City. As a contribution to international relations, she prepared a famous Thanksgiving dinner in Moscow for the Ministry of Culture and Technicum Institute of Health and Nutrition. She was Special Projects Director for Macmillian Publishing from 1965 to 1970, and Food and Travel Editor for WCBS-New York from 1968 to 1972. Articles written by Myra Waldo appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, House & Garden, and The Diners’ Club. One of the most fascinating snippits of information that I learned about Myra Waldo is that she and her husband even spent eight weeks on a safari, after which they completed a film about their experience. It seems they were dauntless in their travels and went everywhere.

In her world travels, Myra, (like James Beard), collected recipes and menus where most tourists would collect souvenirs. Cookbooks with a foreign flair appear to have been her specialty, although she by no means limited herself to cookbooks of this genre.

“Before 1918,” Myra writes in her cookbook “COMPLETE MEALS IN ONE DISH”, “foreign food had but little acceptance and few enthusiasts in the United States. In the two decades or so that followed, Americans gradually began to be intrigued by the food of Europe and during that period Italian and French restaurants opened in profusion throughout the nation. But since the end of World War II, an enormous interest in the food not only of Europe, but also of the entire world has been growing swiftly all over the country….”

I agree with the above statement, but with a slight qualification. I think foreign foods have always had an acceptance in the various ethnic communities throughout the United States—Italian food in the Little Italys, German food in towns such as Cincinnati and Germantown, where the early population was predominately German. But I read somewhere that it was American soldiers during World War II who brought home with them an acquired taste for foreign foods; many of them also brought home War Brides who brought with them the traditional recipes of their native countries. (As an aside, I might mention that Sally Tisdale, author of “The Best Thing I ever Tasted” doesn’t agree with this theory—but we’ll review Sally’s book another time. I am always nonplussed by the synchronicity of things, as I am writing and researching. I first read about restaurant critic Colman Andrews in Ruth Reichl’s “Comfort Me with Apples”. Then I read about him in Sally Tisdale’s “The Best Thing I ever Tasted” – and although he was, apparently, a restaurant critic in Los Angeles for a number of years, I don’t recall ever reading anything about or by him before. Last I heard, he was/is editor of a food magazine).

In any case, there were far fewer foreign cookbooks available to us during the early decades of the 1900s—and oftentimes, those that were available were frequently written with European measurements.

Myra Waldo set out to change all that. In “COMPLETE MEALS IN ONE DISH” published in 1965, the author and her husband traveled throughout Europe—Robert Schwartz never seems to be addressed by name, he is always “My husband”—and each chapter is introduced with a delightful short story of where they traveled and what they saw, and how they happened to discover this dish or that. I was so intrigued with the short stories that I leafed through the entire book and read them all first, before the recipes.

My favorite story is that of Myra and her husband, while in Vienna, walking past the Hungarian Embassy. They began to discuss never having been to Hungary, looked at each other and retraced their steps. Inside the Hungarian Embassy they presented their passports – and before long, despite what Myra describes as “a slightly disquieting feeling of nervousness” they were on their way. As they drove through the countryside, in the middle of nowhere, – the radiator boiled over because the fan belt had become loose. While wondering what to do, they noticed a farmhouse off in the distance, so they walked to it, where they encountered a peasant woman airing bedclothes.

They attempted to communicate in English, French, and German, and when that failed, made their needs known with sign language. They carried off a bucket of water, promising to return the bucket and when they returned, tried to pay the woman.

Myra explains, “The woman waved it aside and motioned us to come inside the kitchen. A delicious aroma filled the air, and always curious I wanted to know what was on the stove. But, it appeared, that was the very reason we had been asked inside—to have something to eat. It was a meal-in-one-dish, a sausage stew made with potatoes and sauerkraut, hearty and delicious. We were embarrassed about eating her food, for it was obvious the farm was a poor one, but we were very hungry, and she was watching us for expressions of enjoyment in the food. It was very good—delicious, in fact. We drank a light white wine with the stew and enjoyed both enormously.

My husband, who has his points, came up with the perfect method of repayment. The woman wouldn’t take any money of course, but my husband opened a suitcase and extracted a box of Viennese candy, which we had brought along. He was right! She was ecstatic with pleasure and quickly and enthusiastically recited a list of names, apparently members of her family who would enjoy the candies…’

Myra and her husband left “amid many words of thanks on both sides, which she couldn’t understand, and which we couldn’t understand, but which everyone did understand”.

Don’t you just love it?

Other Myra Waldo cookbooks with a foreign flair were
PAN AMERICAN’S COMPLETE ROUND-THE-WORLD COOKBOOK, first published in 1954 and reprinted at least eight times, up to 1960;
“THE COMPLETE BOOK OF ORIENTAL COOKING”, first published in 1960 by David McKay Publishers;
“THE COMPLETE BOOK OF GOURMET COOKING FOR THE AMERICAN KITCHEN”, also published in 1960, by G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS (French cooking for American kitchens);
“THE ART OF SOUTH AMERICAN COOKERY” published in 1961 by Doubleday and
“INTER-CONTINENAL GOURMET COOKBOOK” published in 1967 by Macmillan Company. (one edition has a spiffy box to hold the cookbook in), but I also have a very nice hardcover edition published the same year. Was the boxed edition for something special?
“THE COMPLETE ROUND THE WORLD MEAT COOKBOOK”, was also published in 1967 by Doubleday & Company, and
“SEVEN WONDERS OF THE COOKING WORLD” was published in 1971 by Dodd, Mead & Company
“THE COMPLETE BOOK OF ORIENTAL COOKING” offers chapters on cuisine from Hawaii, Japan, Korea Phillipines, Indonesia, China, Indochina, Malaya, Thailand, Burma, and India.

“SEVEN WONDERS OF THE COOKING WORLD” is devoted to recipes from China, The Orient (other than China), Where East Meets West (recipes from Russia, Roumania, Greece, Turkey, Iran and Israel), Middle Europe (Germany , Austria, Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia), Italy, the Latin Countries (Spain, Portugal, South America and Mexico) and France.

“THE COMPLETE BOOK OF GOURMET COKING FOR THE AMERICAN KITCHEN” adapts hundreds of French gourmet recipes for American kitchens (and palates) with recipes ranging from appetizers to desserts, and a glossary of different kinds of cheeses, a chapter of information regarding wines and an herb and spice chart. This is the kind of book that will make gourmet cooks out of all of us.

“INTER-CONTINENTAL GOURMET COOKBOOK” presents recipes from twenty-six countries, (too many to list), but including Australia, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan and Yugoslavia. What is most appealing about all of these cookbooks is that the recipes were all, obviously, chosen with particular care and are, in every instance, geared to the tastes of American palates. Each chapter is prefaced with an introduction by the author, whose writing is so appealing as to make you want to visit every one of these countries…being unable to do that, trying the many recipes might be the next best thing.

And, although “THE ART OF SPAGHETTI COOKERY” does not appear to have been classified amongst Waldo’s “foreign” cookbooks, it does contain recipes from many parts of the world; recipes such as Czechoslovakian potato noodle, Greek macaroni casserole, Bhat Aur Savia (Indian rice and spaghetti) and Chinese beef and noodles. As an added bonus, the author provides an interesting history of spaghetti in the Introduction. Makes no mistake about it, this is one cookbook author who always did her homework.

Another cookbook by Myra Waldo, while not strictly “foreign” has a European stamp, with recipes from France, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
This is “CAKES, COOKIES AND PASTRIES”, (187 great dessert recipes from around the world) first published by Crowell-Collier Publishing Company in 1962. Included are tantalizing recipes for goodies like Venezuelan Banana Torte and Viennese Poppy Seed Torte, Greek Pistachio Cookies and Swedish Honey cookies.

“MYRA WALDO’S DESSERT COOKBOOK” is written in a similar vein, offering recipes from many parts of the world. Included are recipes for yummy recipes such as Hungarian Plum Dumplings, Chinese Sesame Seed Bananas, Polish Almond Bars and Persian Rice Pudding. This, also, was first published in 1962 by Crowell-Collier Publishing Company.

“SERVE AT ONCE, THE SOUFFLE COOKBOOK, 1954, was published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company in New York.

“Myra Waldo has been testing and collecting souffle recipes for years,” we learn on the dust jacket of this book., “Her previous writing experience ranges from copy for cosmetics and chain stores to travel folders, and to assisting her husband compile two dictionaries. She is a member of the Gourmet Society of New York..” Aha, so now we know a bit more.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think many cooks (whether male or female such as you and I, everyday people in our kitchens, prepare souffles anymore). If I were to make an educated guess, it would be that we don’t want to take the time to do anything culinary that takes too much time. Our cake and brownie mixes come out of a box; our cookies are slice and bake. We cut to the chase with pre-cut and frozen onions and already minced garlic and a lot of things that come out of cans. I am just as guilty of this as the next person. I often start out with a mix of some kind and then “doctor” it. (and now someone has made a career out of doing just that on TV). When I start researching cookbook authors of half a century ago, I begin to realize how far we have strayed from “scratch” cooking. I think I’ll try some of these souffle recipes and get back to you on this particular issue.

Myra Waldo appeared to be ahead of her time with cookbooks that were for our health. “SLENDERELLA COOK BOOK” was first published in 1957 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Later, it appeared in paperback under the title, “THE COMPLETE REDUCING COOK BOOK FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY”. Another cookbook published in paperback was titled “COOKING FOR YOUR HEART AND HEALTH”, first published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in 1961, reprinted in paperback by Pocket Book in 1962 (cost of the paperback was fifty cents—imagine THAT!).

One book appears to have been originally published by Collier’s as a paperback, was “THE CASSEROLE COOKBOOK” (170 ingenious one-dish dinners). I think it might have been a takeoff from her earlier “COMPLETE MEALS IN ONE DISH” although the recipes are different. “The casserole” noted the author, “is the greatest single boon for the busy hostess. It permits her to join her guests instead of being confined to last-minute duties in the kitchen…” I agree, and reading both books, found many recipes that would be suitable even today. The back cover of “THE CASSEROLE COOKBOOK” notes that “Myra Waldo is the author of many Collier cookbooks, including “COOKING FROM THE PANTRY SHELF”, “GREAT RECIPES FROM GREAT RESTAURANTS”, “THE HAMBURGER COOKBOOK”, “COOK AS THE ROMANS DO”, “SOUFFLE COOKBOOK”, “CAKES, COOKIES AND PASTRIES” and “1001 WAYS TO PLEASE A HUSBAND: THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK”. Incidentally, if you have this last title, it appears to be the most elusive of all Waldo’s books and, for some reason, the highest priced listed in Alibris.com. I am unable to determine whether 1001 Ways to Please a Husband and The Bride’s Cookbook are one and the same or two separate books.

“THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK” was published by Collier as a paperback in1961 with numerous reprints. The copy my friend Sue Erwin located was printed in 1972. As cookbooks go, this one is a delightful departure from the norm. It’s the story of newlyweds, Jane and Peter, told in diary form by Jane; the recipes are good and the story line is cute. As an aside, while researching this and other cookbook authors, it has become apparent that quite a few writers of the 50s and 60s wrote a bride’s cookbook.

Another favorite Myra Waldo cookbooks is “THE DINERS’ CLUB COOKBOOK, (Great Recipes from Great Restaurants), published in 1959 by Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, Inc. Recipes are from famous restaurants from coast to coast and there is even one from the Toll House in Whitman Massachusetts—where the original chocolate chip cookie was created. The recipe in the Diners Club cookbook, however, is a frosted daiquiri pie. Many of the restaurants no longer exist today, but it’s fun to read and the recipes sound delicious.

In 1960, Myra Waldo published “COOKING FOR THE FREEZER” and this was dedicated to preparing meals in advance. Written prior to the advent of side-by-side freezers and cross top freezers, the refrigerator-freezer shown on the cover with the author doesn’t look like it would hold more than a single meal but the author offers recipes that reconstitute satisfactorily after freezing and do sound good. Most of Myra Waldo’s cookbooks show, I think, the influence of her world travels.

Despite being a most prolific cookbook author throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s, publishing over 40 cookbooks, Myra Waldo appears to have all but disappeared from our culinary landscape. Most of my food-related books fail to mention her at all; James Trager, in “THE FOOD CHRONOLOGY” refers only briefly to her first cookbook, “THE SOUFFLE COOKBOOK” published in 1954, and Waldo’s 1967 “INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COOKING”. (As a yardstick of comparison, I noted that Irma Rombauer, who wrote only one cookbook (Joy of Cooking) ranks an entire lengthy paragraph in Trager’s Food Chronology, while Margaret Rudkin who introduced the world to Pepperidge Farm Bread and wrote “THE PEPPERIDGE FARM COOKBOOK” is acknowledged with nearly an entire page. Ida Bailey Allen who, you know, is the author of first cookbook I was introduced to as a child, is referenced nine times in Trager’s book, even though some of Allen’s books were little more than pamphlets and many were quite obviously promotions for the products that sponsored her.

And yet, as I leaf through cookbook after cookbook written by Myra Waldo, I am impressed with the quality of her writing. Recipes are written straightforwardly, directions are clear and precise. Any one of us could read her cookbooks, today, and follow her instructions. Sometimes we are gifted with interesting asides such as those in “THE COMPLETE BOOK OF GOURMET COOKING FOR THE AMERICAN KITCHEN” in which Myra explains how Baked Alaska was the unexpected and happy result of a laboratory experiment and tells us how sherbets came to 16th century France with Catherine de Medicis, bride of Henry II. Myra often gives us a food-related history lesson throughout the pages of “THE COMPLETE BOOK OF GOURMET COOKING FOR THE AMERICAN KITCHEN”. This cookbook, incidentally, is another favorite of mine. The stories she shares in COMPLE MEALS IN ONE DISH are heartwarming. Each chapter begins with a short memoir—and it is here, in this cookbook, that one gets a true sense of who Myra Waldo is.

Another mystery to this most elusive cookbook author is that her books were published by many different publishers, sometimes two different ones in the same year. Oftentimes, an author’s books will be published by the same publisher.

And where’s Waldo, today? I don’t know. I have been unsuccessful in my efforts to trace the elusive Ms. Waldo. If you know the answer to this question, let me hear from you.

This list is intended to be a guide; I have no way of knowing how complete the list is.

• SERVE AT ONCE, THE SOUFFLE COOKBOOK 1954, was published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company in New York.
• PAN AMERICAN’S COMPLETE ROUND-THE-WORLD COOKBOOK, first published in 1954 and reprinted at least eight times, up to 1960;
• THE COMPLETE BOOK OF ORIENTAL COOKING”, first published in 1960 by David McKay Publishers;
• THE COMPLETE REDUCING COOK BOOK FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY, PERMABOOKS (paperback) 1957 (*originally published in hard cover as the Slenderella Cook Book)
• 1001 WAYS TO PLEASE A HUSBAND, 1958* (is this the same book as the Bride’s Cokbook?)
• THE BRIDE’S COOKBOOK, Collier Books 1961 (paperback) original copy right 1958. (*Is 1000 Ways to Please a Husband and The Bride’s Cookbook one and the same book?)
• COOKING FROM THE PANTRY SHELF, 1962 (publisher?)
(this date may be incorrect. Possibly 1969?)
• CUCINA ORIENTALE, 1972 (publisher?)

Dates unknown:
• GREAT RECIPES FROM GREAT RESTAURANTS (possibly the Diner’s Club cookbook?)


• JAPAN EXPO ’70 GUIDE, 1970

And this is what I found on Google January 15, 2011:

Dateline July 29, 2004
“Myra Waldo, a writer who filled bookshelves with advice on places to see and their customs, died Sunday in her home in Beverly Hills. She was 88 and formerly lived in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The cause was congestive heart failure, her family said…Myra Waldo was born in Manhattan and attended Columbia University. In 1937 she married Robert J. Schwartz, a lawyer, who died in 1997. She used her maiden name professionally….” (Obviously, Wolfgang Saxon who wrote this piece – didn’t really KNOW anything about Myra Waldo. He concludes, “Ms. Waldo worked on special projects for the MacMillan Publishing Company in the late 1960s. From 1968 to 1972, she was on the air as food and travel editor of WCBS radio, a job that led to her 1971 “Restaurant Guide to New York City and Vicinity” which she continued to revise into the 1980s.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME, WOLFGANG? This is all you had to write about a woman who wrote over FIFTY books?

Jill Holzman, writing for Jewish Journal did considerably better with a short obituary about Myra Waldo Schwartz on August 5. 2004:

“Myra Waldo Schwartz, travel writer, food editor and critic, died July 25. A member of the Screen Actors Guild, Myra had numerous television appearances, a radio show on food on New York’s WCBS News Radio 88 and was the food editor for the Baltimore Sun’s This Week Magazine.
She wrote more than 40 books, including “The Complete Round The World Cookbook”, “Seven Wonders of the Cooking World” “The Molly Goldberg Cookbook” and “l,001 ways to Please Your Husband.”

Her passport bears the stamp of nearly every country, and the former president of the Society of American Travel Writers once described her as ‘The most traveled woman in the world,’ having visited every continent but Antarctica.

She is survived by her sister, Naomi Waldo Holzman; nephews Dr. Gilbert and Dr Donald Holzman, and their respective families. She remains an inspiration to her family, friends and fans.”

I’m only slightly mollified. It seems to me that Jill Holzman, being a family member, could have expanded more on Myra’s career. I would certain hope that, if I had written over forty cookbooks many of which were reprinted countless times in paperback editions (I know because I have a lot of them), my family had better have more to say about my illustrious career than a mere nine lines. And I have to say, I was saddened to learn she was living in Beverly Hills – not so very far from me when I was still living in the San Fernando Valley. I can’t help but wonder if she would have given me an interview, had I but known.

So, in 2011 when I ask you “Where’s Waldo?” you might correctly respond “In heaven” – or maybe she is peeking over my shoulder tonight, offering inspiration.

Happy cooking-and Happy cookbook reading!

–Sandra Lee Smith



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  3. Myra Robinette

    I “know” Myra. … She first caught my eye because of our name in common! I was shopping for Christmas and bought a hard bound boxed set of 2 small dimensioned cookbooks for my Brother-in-Law. Of course I HAD to glean through it before I wrapped it for him and wrote down a couple recipes. I was a professional cook at that time and use her Shrimp Soup at the restaurant and we became famous for it! But as in a lot of families … things change … and the Brother-in-law and the cookbooks are gone. I am not ashamed to say that I have been searching for that set of books ANYWHERE I can, and since this all happened in the late 60’s – early 70’s, You can see how elusive she can be!!! I have never found any record of a set like I described ever being produced. Even the publisher metaphorically stood blinking at me while crickets chirped softly in the background! You are the first one that mentioned a box presentation!! And the date and title feel like a fit. INTER-CONTINENTAL GOURMET COOKBOOK” published in 1967 . So many of her titles are specific … certain types of food or a geographical or sociological quality that group them together. I would not have done that for a gift cookbook for someone. But nice general gourmet recipes I would have. So I think you may have helped me hone my search. If you or any one else have this set and would like to sell it please contact me or even if you can just get me a copy of the recipe. She has a wonderful childlike openness to food from all over the world. She would have been something on her own TV show these days! But as far as filling in the gaps? … … I have no clue either. I can’t even find her book!! LOL

    • Hi Myra! What a delight to hear from you! In all the years I have collected Myra Waldo’s cookbooks…I have never before encountered anyone who actually knew who I was talking about. I wrote about her first in a newsletter called Cookbook Collectors Exchange – in the 90s or early 2000s…but then began writing on my blog about favorite authors of mine. OK, that being said–none of my books are two in a boxed set. The Inter-Continental book IS in a box and I suspect it was a special presentation copy given to her by Robert Huyot, President of Inter-Continental Hotels Corp. curious, I looked inside to see if there is a shrimp soup recipe and indeed, there is. But it’s a shrimp and pork soup–did your recipe have pork in it? If this isnt the right recipe, I’ll start going through my collection tomorrow to see if I can find another one. Also, I DO have some doubles of her books because when I was writing about her I began collecting the books and my editor at the CCE was finding and sending them to me, too. For instance, I have more than one copy of the Diner’s Cookbook and the copies I have are in very good condition. If you think the boxed Inter-continental cookbook is the right one, I will sell that one to you as I have another one, unboxed. I am never out to make money on books that I am prepared to sell & would sell any of them to you at a reasonable charge (say about $5.00?) plus whatever the shipping comes to. I also have some of her books in paperbacks–when I am searching for an author’s books I don’t care what edition I find, as long as I have a reading copy. Myra was so far ahead of her time but her books have really stood the test of time, I think, for anyone interested in “from scratch” cooking. If you had a restaurant, you surely know what I mean. Most of today’s cookbooks start out with a can of mushroom soup or a box of onion soup mix – I’m not putting those things down, just saying – it’s good to know how to make things from scratch, no matter what they are. BTW, this shrimp & pork soup is in a section of Thailand recipes Does that ring a bell? Let me know; if this isnt the one I will start looking through her other cookbooks. Best suggestion I can make for finding her books on your own is through the internet–Amazon or Alibris. something like that. I buy most of my cookbooks (especially pre-owned ones) from Amazon. Let me hear from you again!

    • Dear Myra,
      I dont know how much space wordpress allows for comments but wanted to let you know, I have found 3 other shrimp recipes in Myra Waldo’s cookbooks. If you think any (or all) of them are what you want, let me know & I will type them up. In her “Complete Round The World Cookbook” there are two; an Asian Shrimp Soup and a South American shrimp soup. In her Complete Book of Oriental cooking, she has one from Thailand called Coconut Shrimp Soup.

      do any of these ring a bell?

      Sandra Smith

  4. I was telling my husband about Myra’s “Portuguese Fish,” a dish which I made so long ago that I had forgotten about it. I believe I originally had found the recipe in Myra’s COMPLETE MEALS IN ONE DISH. This being the age of the Internet, of course I decided to Google her, and I linked to your charming blog.

    She was a favorite of mine, but how I miss all of those great authors of decades past! (I actually came to meet Julia Child, James Beard, Craig Claiborne.) And some long-ago names tease at my memory. Cecily Blackstone? Poppy Cannon?

    Another particular favorite of mine was Lillian Langseth-Christiansen of the now sadly defunct GOURMET Magazine.

    Like you, I was saddened to learn that Myra had died in Beverly Hills, and for reasons much like yours. I was born on the Upper East Side of New York City, still live there most of the year — and my mother actually still was living there, too, when she died last year, not all that far from the famous cookbook store. (Mom, however, had been raised on the Upper West Side.)

    Yet part of the time, I’m in Brentwood, only about four or five miles from Beverly Hills. Had I only known, like you, I, too would have tried to meet Myra.

    I don’t know if you’re aware that “Slenderella” was a chain of exercise/ beauty salons in New York in the late 1950s and early 1960s. My mother went to one of them, wearing her leotard (a shocker!) under her coat. This chain did not last too long. It was way ahead of its time.

    I will say that I am a pretty good cook by now, and I rarely need to consult a recipe. Yet since the older generation of my family all has died — in fairness, I am actually part of what now has become the current “older” generation — if I need to check out the precise measurements of a beloved family recipe, I do look at the MOLLY GOLDBERG COOKBOOK. (Also Jennie Grossinger’s.)

    I look forward to reading your charming blog. Thanks so much. And I’m going to make that Portuguese Fish again, too….

    • Dear Judy, I LIVE for messages like yours. Sometimes when I have spent weeks (or sometimes months) researching a cookbook author, I wonder – will anyone really READ this…and then occasionally, I hear from someone, like you, saying yes, I loved that author or such and such a cookbok. Do you have the Portugese fish recipe? I will be happy to look any of them up. And some of the authors you mentioned are on my list of authors I want to do. A few – like Julia Child or James Beard – have been written about so extensively, I feel there’s nothing freshor new I could bring to the table – but many of the cookbooks authors from the 20s or 30s or 40s –so many of them are unknown, now, and it pleases me no end when someone writes & says they are trying to find their cookbooks. I first wrote about Myra when I was doing articles for a nice newsletter called The Cookbook Collectors Exchange throughout the 90s…and the woman who published it gave me carte blanch to write as much as I wanted. I spent months trying to acquire all of Myra’s cookbooks (and I think I have most of them including the Slenderella cookbook) but for a very long time, I had no idea what happened to her – not even the owner of a well known used bookstore in NYC knew who I was talking about. So it was left with a question mark until I decided to re-write my original article and while I was at it – did some googling (which we didnt have in the 90s) – only to discover she had passed away not long before and in Beverly Hills. I was crushed about that. Well, feel free to ask me anytime for recipes you can’t find – some of my Myra Waldo cookbooks are old discolored paperbacks but – still. and I think I ended up with 3 copies of the Diner’s Club cookbook when I was busy collecting her books. THANK YOU for writing! What a delight! – Sandy

    • ps Lillian Langseth Christensen – name sounds familiar and not just because of Gourmet (which I am sick about our losing) – did Lillian do an American-type cookbook
      I’ll do some searching this afternoon. Also have the Molly Goldberg Coobook–did you read what I wrote about that? I have written over 300 posts on my blog and have to double check when various ones were posted…I have a separate list in WORD. I have a pretty good collection of Jewish cookbooks. Thank you again. – Sandy

  5. Pingback: CrustlessTurkey Pot Pie « Pragmatic Attic

  6. Hey, I was wondering if you have any idea who may own the rights to any of Myra Waldo’s books, specifically “Seven Wonders of the Cooking World.” The publisher is out of business, and I cant find any information anywhere. You seem to have more info about her life than anyone out there, so I figured I would ask. Thanks….jared

    • Dear Jared,
      Well, I dont know the answer to your question but I do know that she had a couple of sons – and I think a niece wrote the obituary about her – I will be out of town until Friday but will check through my notes & see if I can find my hardcopy drafts of the last article. I CAN tell you she lived in Beverly Hills, California. I think went mostly by her married name by then & I think her husband was a lawyer. Will try to find out more for you. Back Friday, Dec 30. – Sandy

      • Hey Sandy, thanks for checking on that for me. Any information I can find will be helpful. Looking forward to hearing from you….jared

    • Jared–I know your sent the above message almost 2 years ago–but just recently I learned a bit about copyrights. All of Myra’s cookbooks were copyrighted. I am told that a copyright is good for 70 yrs after the author’s passing–so, to answer your question, Seven Wonders of the Cooking world should still be protected by copyright. – Sandy

  7. Hello,
    I don’t quite know much about cookbooks or their authors, but your article was an extremely good read. It was a pleasure to read.
    I have Myra Waldo’s book “Cakes, Cookies and Pastries” and it is rather good. I’ve only tried a couple of things in it though.
    I’m 22, and from India, so I have a rather pathetic background in cooking really, but as a novice her book did give me a very enriching insight into baking.
    Thanks for having written something substantial about the author.

    • Hello Nidhi – thank you for taking the time to write! I love Myra Waldo’s books and I think one of the things I always really liked about her writing is that they’re all easy to read, easy to follow. Sometimes you can find some of her cookbooks in used book stores or thrift shops–she doesnt have a big following anymore and she was such a talented writer. I’m sure you can find some of her other books & you will find them useful to keep on your bookshelves. – Sandy

  8. Hi Sandy,
    As I was making Szekely Gulyas for the “I don’t know how manyieth” time (page 221 of my hardcover edition of “Complete Meals in One Dish”), I also began to wonder about Myra Waldo. My dad first brought home the cookbook sometime in the ’70s. One of my fondest memories is making this stew with him. Thanks for the insights.

    • Thanks for writing, Judy. I think Myra is my all time favorite cookbook author of the 40s-50s decades; when you read one of her books, it’s like being in the same room and talking with her. She had such a friendly, chatty style. I think Marion Cunningham had a similar style. And she wrote so many cookbooks! Do you have any other Myra Waldo cookbooks? – Sandy

  9. Hi Sandy,

    I have been searching for the Myra Waldo cookbook I used to cook from as a teenager. I was so certain that it was the Round the World Cookbook and have ordered and received 3 of the wrong cookbooks (the first one was a softcover and the last two I ordered had a different cover featured on the website, not the one with an airplane circling the globe, so I was hopeful that the one I have been looking for would show up in the mail.) I don’t know when my mom purchased the book but I would have been cooking from the book from 1967 to 1971. I do remember several wonderful recipes from the book including Marinated Carrots and Italian Lamb in Egg Sauce. The first hardback version I received has a publication date of 1954 and the second one lists reprint dates from 1954-1960. I pick-up and put down the “project” of trying to find the fondly remembered cookbook and so was delighted to run across your article. Any thoughts on which of Myra Waldo’s cookbooks I might be looking for? Thanks so much in advance for any help.

    Best regards,

    • Can you tell me more about it, Lisa? I have most of Myra’s cookbooks and I have a few duplicates of some. Maybe I can help you out.

    • My bad, Lisa, I didnt realize your message was longer than what I first saw on my message board. Ok, was the cookbook an international one? International recipes? Myra did a lot of that kind of writing. tomorrow when I have more time–I will dig out my books (& I think I have most if not all of hers) –do you think you would recognize it from the cover? I can scan the covers & upload them. I can also do a search for Italian Lamb in Egg Sauce – that’s a good clue! (I love cooking detective work). I would be delighted to help you find your Myra Waldo cookbook.
      Best wishes, Sandy

  10. Thanks so much Sandy,

    I have always thought it was an international one, in particular the Round
    the World cookbook, but at this point in time I’m doubting my memory . Although the two books I purchased on-line did show a different cover on the website than what arrived in the mail which is why I took the chance and ordered the two books. I’m really having to stretch to bring back the memory of the book ( it has been forty years since I have seen the book) but I don’t remember it having the plane on the cover. Thanks for the detective work !

    Best regards,

  11. Hi Sandy. Did you ever find out anything about the life of Lillian Langseth-Christensen? I’m aware of some of her publications as well as her writings in the old lamented Gourmet Magazine. Virginia

    • No Virginia, I’m sorry to say I haven’t but it sort of slipped my mind – I am kicking myself six ways to sunday for giving away an old collection of gourmet magazines that I had before we moved to Florida–I had years and years of issues going back to the 1940s. MY BAD – we didnt have storage units on every street corner back then (this was 1979) and I had to get ride of a lot of stuff. Thanks for the reminder; I’ll try to do some searching after the holidays (I know I wont get to it until they’re over with). Can you write to me and tell me what you have? My email address is ssmith00281@verizon.net. thanks! Sandy

    • Hi, Virginia–yes, I know its been a while since you and I exchanged some messages but I was wondering if you ever googled “Lillian Langseth-Christensen”? I just did and there is a link for a biography about her. Usually a bio will have a list of the author’s books. I didnt get that far this morning but thought I’d do a little more searching. The dust jacket for Myra Waldo’s round-the-world cookbook shows different people in different lands in a circle – but I removed the dust jacket to see what is on the cover of that book and it IS an airplane circling the globe. I’m interested in finding out what books Lillian Langseth-Christensen wrote. I suppose most of the collection of Gourmet magazine are stashed somewhere in a dusty cellar–it would be interesting if someone buys up the collection and maybe publishes some of the most frequently featured authors. Well, here I sit this morning browing through messages when I should be writing. ah, but half the joy of writing is in the reseach! regardsm Sandy

    • lISA, APPARENTLY, amazon.com bought up the Gourmet collection–google the author and look what all pops up. I dont recall seeing all of this when we started searching over a year ago. They also list about half a dozen or so of her books and I was able to find some of her Gourmet articles. I think there’s a good chance you can find what you are looking for now. I tried copying/pasting something of hers and got myself into a cyberspace jam with the margins. You can see what Gourmet published of hers, though. Let me know if you find what you were looking for. Good luck! Sandy

  12. Sandy – Enjoyed reading your post, I’m not much of a cook myself but my best friend is and I’ve enjoyed encouraging him with gifts of cookbooks. I just happened to come across this ad on Tumblr and wondered who the heck Myra Waldo was – I have at least heard of the big names like Child, Beard, and Claiborne, but Waldo? So I googled her name and your article was the second one in the list. Thought you might enjoy this pic of Myra in a 70’s advertisement, if you’ve not seen it before. The copy calls her “America’s foremost cookbook author” – and now she’s unknown to all but a handful of cookbook fans like yourself. Ah well, glory fades fast, doesn’t it? Enjoy.

    • Hi, Russ – I live for comments such as yours. Yes, you are right about Myra Waldo. When I first became curious about her (way back in the 1990s!) I didnt have google. and inquiries to booksellers in NYC – notable used book sellers who are well known to book lovers -knew nothing about her. My first article about Myra was printed in a cookbook collectors exchange newsletter and I went with what I knew and gleaned from her cookbooks. She was really a prolific cookbook author! It was just in the past couple of years, as I was rewriting my original article and writing about her again, that I found an obituary and discovered she had passed away not long before this. I was greatly chagrined because I discovered she lived in Beverly Hills and until 2008, I was not that far from BH. But at least I was able to wtite “the rest of the story”.
      It has been my experience, Russ, that people who really love cookbooks and start digging into the past, begin to search for cookbooks written by writers like Myra Waldo and others I have been writing about. Their books become cherished because of the knowledge and wisdom they contain- and they are timeless. their recipes are just as good today as they were fifty (sixty, seventy) years ago. I hope your best friend keeps up his interest in cooking and cookbooks. It’s such a wonderful hobby – for, of course, we do have to eat and might as well enjoy what we’re eating! 🙂 Thanks for writing – Sandy

  13. I thoroughly agree that we should enjoy what we’re eating, which is why I am always happy to serve as guinea pig for my friend’s new dishes, and they are always good. I also think you did a fine job of summing up in one place what can be known about Myra’s life and work – it would be sad to think all that effort and love were to be entirely forgotten. Looking at my post above, it seems that WordPress dropped the URL link to the photo of Myra, so put your thinking cap on, and try this: kellyskitschen dot tumblr dot com slash post slash 41802178592. Or just go to Kelly’s Kitschen on tumblr, it’s about the fifth post down on her homepage. Myra looks like a lively, upfront gal, I’ll bet she was fun to know.

  14. Russ, while I was able to log onto tumblr I couldn’t find a link for kelly’s kitchen no matter how many ways I tried to spell it. Am missing something somewhere – but was thinking–I believe I have some photos of Myra on some of her cookbook dust jackets. If I can remember how to scan/upload and post a photograph…I will. WordPress keeps changing its format leaving blogs-for-dummies-like-me in the dust. Had to chuckle over the name Kelly’s kitchen…my youngest son’s name is Kelly. (He has always disliked his name because it can be a girl’s or a boy’s name–I told him it was a boy’s name long before it became a girl’s name and there was once a race car driver whose name was Kelly. (I just have fond memories of a little boy who lived up the street from my family–when I was a little girl–and his name was Kelly). Well, I digress (I do that a lot) – but thanks for writing – Sandy .

  15. Go to Google, type “kellys kitschen tumblr” in the search box, and it will be the first item that comes up. Scroll down to find the picture of Myra advertising Swift Premium Franks.

  16. My thanks to Russ for finding this photograph of Myra Waldo! She was, as you can see, a beautiful woman–and a superb cookbook author!

  17. I just found your website and am delighted to confirm my memories of the Round the World Cookbook; unfortunately, I can’t browse through it at the moment (it’s in a closed-up house in Maine). I would love a copy of the Chinese Beef and Noodles recipe with which we used to feed two grateful families, including four hard-working and low-earning academics teaching at the state university. Thanks so much for filling in the bare outlines of Myra Waldo.

    • Dear Ruth,
      I have the ROUND THE WORLD COOKBOOK in front of me but have been unable to find a recipe for Chinese Beef and Noodles – there are several pages of Chinese recipes (under China) as well as a section of Beef recipes. Could it have another name? If you can think of any other identifying features I could look for, I’d be happy to do more searching. I’ll keep my copy on my desk until I hear from you again. I’m sorry to disappoint you. Regards, Sandy

      • Ruth Nadelhaft

        Hi Sandy,

        Thanks for your reply. The recipe included ground beef and fine noodles. We always referred to it as beef and noodles but no doubt it had a different title in the book. This is clearly not an emergency, but I’ll look forward to hearing from you again.

        Best wishes, Ruth

      • Dear Ruth,
        Well, this morning I dragged out Waldo’s Inter-Continental cookbook (the W’s are hard to reach right now–my granddaughter has been staying with me and a lot of my favorite author books are in that bedroom) – well, it wasnt in the Inter-Continental cookbook – the categories in that book appear to be middle-eastern. There are few Chinese recipes in Complete Round-the-World cookbook. I was thinking that US and Chinese relations might not have been especially cordial in 1954 when this cookbook was first published. I also noted that while it was first published in 1954, it wasa repritned several times, the last edition (the one I have a copy of) published in 1958, which leads me to wonder if any recipes were deleted in the later issues. There are only 7 Chinese recipes in Round the World – one a Beef & Peppers (but the meat isnt ground) and the other is called Beef And String Beans, Chinese name Dow Jay, Ngow Yok soong – and THAT recipe uses 2 pounds of beef or pork, GROUND. This one says “serve with boiled rice”
        There is a separate category for Hong Kong but the recipes given don’t appear to be the one you are looking for.
        I do have a lot of Chinese cookbooks, will try to go through some of those but I have no doubt that what you are looking for must have been in an earlier edition of Round-the-World cookbook. If I find anything else, I’ll let you know. – regards, Sandy

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    Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Great work!

    • Thank you – and no, I didnt do any of the design – I have a friend/editor who set it all up for me because my articles were too wordy for her newsletters. Thanks for writing. Sandy

  23. I was led to your site because I was wondering who was behind a wonderful cookbook I bought in college and has been a staple of mine ever since. The recipes are easy and they are uniformly wonderful but I never knew who the author was (since they said it was a pseudonym) and I never saw any other books by her. The Art of Parisian Cooking still has the best recipe for boeuf bourguignonne I have ever had. Just made it the other day and it was wonderful. I found her name under copyright entries for the book at the Library of Congress. Sure wish someone would reissue the book in hardback form. If I am wrong and she is not the author, in the words of Emily Litella “never mind”.

    • Hello John – you have my curiosity piqued – who is the author on the book? I don’t think its one of Myra Waldo as I don’t have the title listed under her books. I did a Google search and DID find a title THE ART OF PARISIAN COOKING but it offered very little else – no author, appears to be scarce.
      Is there anything at all you can tell me about this book? I’d love to know. And someone who reads my blog might know something. Thanks for writing! – Sandy@sandychatter

      • John Howard

        The author is “Colette Black” but the book indicates it is a pseudonym for an important author. I got on the list of copyright titles from the Library of Congress.

        Here is a link:

        http://books.google.com/books?id=XiYhAQAAIAAJ &pg=PA691&lpg=PA691&dq=colette+black+cook+book+art+parisian+cooking&source=bl&ots=X5kM7o6J8x&sig=NG9ezydUVlpFBv-1tywPaLCiAc8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=V9vYUf2qM5DSigLt54GgBQ&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=colette%20black%20cook%20book%20art%20parisian%20cooking&f=false

        If you get the entire book, it is at page 691.

        It is under Google books and it is:

        Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series: 1962: January-June

        I am trying to copy and paste it, but don’t seem to be able to do so.

        I will keep working on it.

        It is a GREAT cookbook!

        John Howard

        John W. Howard


        225 Broadway, Suite 2220

        San Diego, California 92101

        Telephone: (619) 234-2842

        Telefax: (619) 234-1716

      • John, I found the cookbook on Amazon.com for $4.00 & 3.99 shipping (or thereabouts) and its paperback, may not be great but I am curious enough to find out. a HARD BOUND copy is listed at $140.00!!!
        Hope to hear from you & any additional input you may have to contribute! – Sandy

      • I am so glad you found it! Mine is paperback too. I know you will enjoy it. Great recipes in that little book.
        I do not know if I mentioned how I came to it. I was in college at UCSD and used to wander through the college bookstore and just browse through books. The Art of Parisian Cooking caught my eye and I had always heard that French cooking was the best so I picked it up. My diet at the time was mainly hamburgers and fast food and anything else a young college guy could throw together. (absolutely NOTHING green!). When I looked in the book the recipes looked easy I decided to buy it (for 95 cents) and thought I would give it a try. The first thing I made was “Fondue du Poulet” which is NOT a fondue but was great and I found I liked cooking and the result was a pretty great product. I also discovered that girls liked it when guys cooked for them! So I started cooking for my dates. That started a lifelong relationship with finer food than I as a college kid was used to making for myself. It dovetailed with my discovering that there were better wines out there than Red Mountain Hearty Burgundy. The rest, for me, was history.

      • John Howard

        I just clicked on the link I sent and I got to the site but you have to scroll down to find Myra Waldo Schwartz. I hope you can find it.

        I also hope it is she. That would sure add to the romance and mystery of this woman you have so kindly revealed to my via your blog.


        John W. Howard


        225 Broadway, Suite 2220

        San Diego, California 92101

        Telephone: (619) 234-2842

        Telefax: (619) 234-1716

      • HELLO John – I’m trying to find it and am missing something somewhere along the way – and I have no idea who Colette Black is.
        It’s perplexing to think that Myra Waldo would have used a pseudonym for one of her books – she used her name of Myra Waldo throughout writing some 30 or 40 books– but that doesn’t mean she DIDN’T – maybe there was a reason we don’t know about. What I have found perplexing is how she completely disappeared from public life. It was only a fluke that I learned – maybe a year or two ago – that she had moved to Beverly Hills where she lived out the rest of her life. that was such a what-if moment in MY life (discovered most of it in an Obituary) – Until 2008 I lived in the San Fernando Valley not very far from Beverly Hills. I thought oh, to have been able to interview her – but maybe by then she didn’t WANT anything to do with the public. I spent about a year researching Myra Waldo before writing my first article about her for the Cookbook Collectors Exchange. Her books were fantastic. She had a fantastic career – and then simply disappeared from public eye. One can’t help but wonder why. Wonderful female chefs/cookbook authors such as Elizabeth David and Marion Cunningham–just to name two out of a plethora of wonderful female cookbook authors – wrote until they were at death’s door. It begs the question, why didn’t Myra Waldo? Well, maybe between us we can figure this out. Thank you very much for writing. I just printed Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon just to have on hand for comparison. (one of my favorite past times is delving deep into food – the history, not necessarily the cooking and eating part.

      • My guess is that she used the pseudonym “Colette Black” because she thought people might not be as attracted to “Mayra Schwartz” as an author of a book on Parisian cooking. Sort of like the identity she created for the Molly Goldberg cookbook.

        In the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, entries are listed by author. This particular edition is from 1962. The entry for Myra Waldo Schwartz reads as follows: (sorry I can’t cut and paste it)


        The art of Parisian cooking by Colette Black, pseud. [caps as in original entry] 1st Ed.
        (Cookbook original Collier Books AS196) © Crowell-Collier Pub. Co.; 27Apr62; A6564110;
        Cook as the Romans do; Recipes of Rome an northern Italy by Myra Waldo, 1st Ed. (Collier
        Books Collier Books Cookbook original AS99) © Myra Waldo Schwartz 29Dec61 A546005

        And it goes on from there with other entries.

        I think this is a wonderfully fascinating mystery. She must have been a really fascinating woman. I am glad you are keeping her alive.

        The link to the catalog entry is:


      • Sandy –

        Did you ever get the Art of Parisian Cooking? What do you think?

        John Howard

        John W. Howard


        225 Broadway, Suite 2220

        San Diego, California 92101

        Telephone: (619) 234-2842

        Telefax: (619) 234-1716

    • ps to JOhn – can you send me the recipe for the beef bouef Bourguignonne? I make one that I like but would enjoy finding something better. – Sandy

      • I will scan it when I get to my office Monday and send it to you. The cookbook also has a filet mignon au champignon that is great, something call fondue du poulet (basically a chicken curry), a lobster mousse and a Lobster thermidor, among many others.

  24. Thanks, John–I believe you, it IS Myra Waldo/Schwartz–and Collier’s was a publisher she used frequently. It may remain a mystery altho I think I could try writing to someone (maybe the person who wrote her obituary) & see if I can find a list of everything not previously listed (and an explanation for her using a pen name in later years?). I’ll try to get to the website you mentioned. –if I can put together enough information I could do an update on “Where’s Waldo” – to let the world know she’s been found. Did you notice, Where’s Waldo has more comments over the past 2 years than almost anyone else I have written about. I think Complete Meals in One Dish is my favorite of all her books–for the text as much as the recipes–it’s enchanting and her writing is a style I can identify with. I have written about other mostly forgotten cookbook authors but Myra remains #1. Will try to put together a list of the unknown titles. Thanks! Sandy

    • I wonder if she has living relatives. Maybe they would know more and could shed light. I think you are single-handedly keeping her memory alive. I am sure she would have liked that.

  25. Maybe there is a book in it for you, actually. Following the mystery. I know I would buy one as, I am sure, would many of your readers.

    • Thanks John. You may be right – Myra isn’t the only cookbook author who disappeared from sight–just recently someone led me to the answer about Meta Given (another fascinating story) & a few years ago I was led to the answer about a handwritten cookbook I bought from a used book store in Hollywood decades ago–a young woman, American by birth but living in Great Britain–solved the who-dun-it mystery of the author of my beloved handwritten cookbook, compiled over decades. That became Helen’s Cookbook and the follow up to Helen’s Cookbook.
      And not too long ago I was able to write about The Browns, whose books I have loved since I first began collecting cookbooks–turns out a couple of descendants of the Browns also had blogs and they found ME. just recently realized I need a master list of all the titles – and I HAVE started it but sometimes its a tossup- write about something new and different or try to compile a master list ? And while I was going through some of the articles in my WORD file, I see there are a lot more than I thought. but doing a book about these cookbook authors and presenting it as a detective story would be interesting (if someone doesn’t do it before I do) – btw, I find it fascinating that authors I have written about–without virtually Anything listed on Google at the time–now, when I go back–I find dozens of entries that weren’t there before. Meta Given is one such example. by the way, the first one I wrote about–originally for the Cookbook Collectors Exchange–was Ida Bailey Allen. . Thanks for writing! – Sandy

      • John W. Howard

        Sandy –

        Sorry for the delay in getting the beef bourgignone recipe to you. It will be in my next e-mail.

        If you make it, let me known how you like it.

        You should get the Art of Parisian Cooking by Colette Black. I had never read the introduction but after discussing it all with you decided to do so and compare the style to some of Myra Waldo’s other writing. I see some similarities but would defer to your judgment. My conclusion is that she was the author because of the copyright register.

        I love a mystery!

        John Howard

      • sorry for not getting back to you sooner, John – I have had a lot on my plate recently. I WILL try to find the Art of Parisian Cooking – I’m curious too. It wouldn’t be too far fetched for her to have taken up writing under another name. She just disappeared (as Myra Waldo) from public view and cookbook writing – and quite possibly publishers were no longer interested in her as Myra Waldo. A cookbook author with whom I have had some correspondence said never to mention the year she was born because it turns publishers off–they seem to think if you reach a certain age, your material is no longer publishing -worthy. Do you suppose that could have happened to Myra also? Her published cookbooks span decades. Have you learned anything else you could share? This would be a great blog post to write if I can dig up enough material. I’ll start with the Art of Parisian Cooking. And could you send me the Beef Bourgignone (sp) recipe? Thanks much.

      • I tried sending you a pdf of the recipe but it bounced back to me. I will have my secretary reproduce it on Word and will cut and paste it to a post. (She tried it, by the way, and REALLY love it.)
        My theory is that Myra had a lot of success under her own name but thought a cookbook about Parisian Cooking should have a more French sounding name if it was going to succeed. I think the actual title of the book is “The Art of Parisian Cooking by Collette Black” but that she simply did not put author credit on it. So the title is not “The Art of Parisian Cooking” with author credit for “Collette Black”. If you find an intact copy (mine has lost its back cover) it mentions that “Collette Black” is a pseudonym for a “famous writer” (which of course, only heightened the mystery. I figured it was some great French writer of literature who did not want people to know she also knew cooking. It is wonderful how many details the imagination can provide.) Finding out from you that Myra traveled widely (especially in Europe) and often wrote about the food from places she went suggests to me that she spent some time in France and picked up a bunch of recipes when she was there.
        I am certainly no expert but I think cookbook writing back in the 50’s and 60’s was less glamorous than it is today. They were really “how to books” for women (mainly) like the “how to books” on auto repair were for men. I don’t think the authors were big stars like they are now, though I could be completely mistaken about that. But the cookbooks I have from that era are pretty anonymous or use false names like “Betty Crocker” with little reference to the authors as personalities.
        I will say that the introduction to the Art of Parisian Cooking is airy and whimsical and contains allusions to the French reputation for enjoying life in all of its aspects. This came at a time in American history when we were slowly emerging from a more puritanical Victorian way of talking about things. So her sly references to sex, though extremely tame, might have been seen as mildly racy when the book first appeared but might have been acceptable coming from a “French” writer.
        Over the years, I have learned to hear meter and style and to be able to identify writing or speech based on that rather than the actual identification of the author. (I guessed that the writer of several episodes of a TV show were written by David Mamet, for example, before the credits appeared based on the sound of the dialogue. It will be very interesting to me to hear what you think when you read the introduction to the Art of Parisian Cooking. My guess is you will know immediately whether or not you think it is Myra’s work.
        Sorry for the long post.

      • John, I like your belief that you can identify writers by their style–I think that’s true & you know, I have received dozens & dozens of email messages from people reading my posts over the past few years & writing to say they like how I write–my style, if I have such a thing, is to write the way I talk and to bring people into my kitchen to talk about food and recipes. I strive to keep it plain & simple. When I was writing about Myra Waldo (first time was back in the 1990s) I was collecting her books at the same time, and trying to read as many of them as quickly as possible–I think I said before that Complete Meals in One Dish was a favorite; many of the introductions to chapters are written the way a friend might write to you from another country about their food/recipe experiences. Well, I hope I can learn more about Collette Black & perhaps dig up enough information to write a sequel (am also collecting information to write a sequel to Chef Szathmary). This is such an exciting experience. Thanks much! Sandy

      • In my business, conclusions can be drawn based on direct evidence and on things that are deducible from direct evidence. Circumstantial evidence works too. Here is my case: (1) the Patent Office register lists Myra Waldo Schwartz her as the author of the Art of Parisian Cooking; (2) Myra Waldo wrote several books called “The Art of …. Cooking”; (3) Myra Waldo traveled everywhere in Europe with her husband and wrote about the indigenous cooking; (4) with her interest in food and cooking, she had to know the French had the reputation for the best cuisine and Paris the best of the French; (5) she wrote about the cooking of a bunch of places including Italy and South America but not about Parisian cooking? Seems unlikely to me. The case rests.
        But I am really anxious to hear what you have to say when you read her introduction. As I said before, I think you will be able to tell if she is your Myra.
        I agree with your correspondents, by the way. I like your conversational style. It goes with the topic.

      • Hi, John – thanks for the input – I have copied and pasted your latest comment to my WORD file & I hope you wont object to my including it (do not have to include your email address, last name, etc, just “John” maybe in San Diego? – I wouldn’t have been able to word your case for Myra being Collette as well as you did. will let you know when my copy of the book arrives. I have been mulling over whether or not someone from her family would respond to an inquiry. it might be worth a try. The obituary listed some family members. and it begs the question – were there any other books printed under the name of Collette?
        Thanks for the information!

      • Sandy – You are welcome to use anything I have written to you in whatever way you would like, with or without attribution. I am happy just to advance the solution to the mystery.

      • Thanks, John – I will let you know when my copy of Collette’s book arrives in the mail. Looking forward to comparing her writing with Myra’s.

      • Sandy – I assume you got your copy of The Art of Parisian Cooking by Colette Black by now. what do you think?

      • John Howard

        Sandy – I just tried to send you the boeff Bourgoinonne recipe but it got kicked back. Can you offline send me another e-mail address so I can resend? I promise not to use it except to send this recipe.
        John Howard

      • Hello John–I will be happy to send you my email address but if it is the recipe for Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon – I received it the other day (from tablespoon.com? didn’t you send it? As a matter of fact I am planning to make it when I return from Seattle with my older brother & his new ladylove who are spending a week here. I even got out a bottle of red wine to go into it. – sandy

      • John Howard

        No, this is the recipe from The Art of Parisian Cooking by Colette Black (Myra Waldo Schwartz). It is easier than Julia Child’s and I think better (with no insult intended to the Great Lady).
        I don’t do facebook. I do Linked In, but I am happy to give you my e-mail address. As I look at the icon below this message, it has it there. I had assumed you had it.
        John Howard

      • John, I will start researching Collette when I get back from Seattle. Also meant to tell you, I am on LinkedIn – just seldom use it (I forget–I have too many irons in the fire) – but when I am intrigued by an author (such as Waldo/Black – then I zero in on it and everything else goes by the wayside.
        Thanks for your help!! I’m delighted! – Sandy

  26. ps in all the messages I have received from you, none of them show an email address. do you have facebook? I can private message an address from there.

  27. pps to John–want to suggest you go back and read through all the titles I listed, of Myra’s books, – in at least 3 or 4 it references French cooking being among the countries represented in some of her books. In Complete Meals in One, she mentions trying out several languages on a person they encountered when their car broke down–French was one of the languages they tried out on the farm wife they met (to no avail). I think I can make up a list of the books in which French cooking was referenced. Maybe she always planned to write one, separately on French cooking & never got to it. Or she DID and we never knew!!

  28. Hi, John – yes I have the book but I am still undecided – began trying to research both of them but kept hitting road blocks RE Colette. I tried finding her other books as well. I want to try her beef burgundy (easier to spell than the French spelling) and then compare it to something of Myra’s. Have wondered, also, if the woman who wrote the obit for Myra (I think she is a family lawyer) would respond to an inquiry. What difference would it make one way or another? There would be no reason, that I can see, to continue concealing it. Can you see any reason for keeping something like this under wraps? I am also reminded of the difficulties I encountered when first writing about the Browns (read my blog posts about them)–when I first wrote about them in the 1990s there was absolutely NOTHING available other than what you could find on dust jacks. then I wrote about them on my Blog (started March, 2009) and someone from the Browns family wrote to me–it opened many more doors. I also learned that the real writer in the family was Bob Brown–oh, boy! what I life HE led! Well, with the internet you never know where something is going to lead you. (I’ve been having similar thoughts about Chef Louis Szathmary–so many comments from so many people–it’s been an amazing ride). Well, I’ll get back to you after I make a couple batches of Beef Burgundy. Maybe I can freeze most of it to serve during the holidays!!! 🙂

  29. John, I thought I had written to tell you that my copy of the Art of Parisian Cooking did come …. I haven’t come to any conclusion RE whether she and Myra are one and the same person. I’m inclined to lean in that direction & have wondered if I wrote to a family member, whether they would respond. It would make a fantastic blog post if Collette & Myra were one and the same person. I think I’ll try to find something else that Collette has written–I have virtually all of Myra’s cookbooks & in some instances, more than one copy. Have gotten sidetracked working on some material about Chef Szathmary.
    ** You are in San Diego, aren’t you? Do you know about a used cookbook store…not sure of the location, maybe around University ave? My sister, a niece and I spent a few days in San Diego with my sister’s youngest son, my niece’s oldest son and one of my grandson’s –we found two bookstores but the one that is solely cookbooks…is such a find. I’m not even sure it’s still in business – this had to be in 2007 or early 08. Just wondering. Will try to get myself back on track! – Sandy

    • I don’t know of the book store.

      If there are Myra family members you have located, I sure would contact them. Maybe they will know and maybe not, but it would be worth the try.



      John W. Howard


      225 Broadway, Suite 2220

      San Diego, California 92101

      Telephone: (619) 234-2842

      Telefax: (619) 234-1716

  30. ps- note to John – OMG. I just had an epiphany kind of moment – I was re-reading some of Myra’s dialogue in which, whenever she & her husband traveled, – she always simply referred to him as “my husband”. His last name was Schwartz. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Schwartz German for black?

    • Oh My God!

      You are so right!!

      You have just hit on it!

      That is so great!

      That is the last key!



      John W. Howard


      225 Broadway, Suite 2220

      San Diego, California 92101

      Telephone: (619) 234-2842

      Telefax: (619) 234-1716

    • Sandy –

      Something else just occurred to me. Myra clearly used the name “Black” because of her last name. So, how come the name “Colette”?

      You said she travelled extensively in France and this is the “Art of Parisian Cooking”. If it is Paris, perhaps she dined at Le Grand Vefour, one of the most Parisian of Parisian restaurants and it has been in business for over a hundred years.

      What is significant about that is that they have always promoted the restaurant by saying that it was the favorite restaurant of both Napoleon and the French writer Colette. In fact, when I dined there I sat in the booth that Colette preferred.

      I wonder if that is why she chose that name?

      John Howard

      John W. Howard


      225 Broadway, Suite 2220

      San Diego, California 92101

      Telephone: (619) 234-2842

      Telefax: (619) 234-1716

  31. John, I think you may have hit the nail on the head–if memory serves me correctly (and I will have go back to my file on Myra) I dont think she had children of her own. She had two nephews and I dont think there were any nieces. It enabled her and her husband (Robert?) to travel not just to France but to many different countries – she wrote several cookbooks encompassing these countries. it makes sense to me that Collette might have been a favorite name & one she might have chosen if they had had any children of their own. Is this another piece of the puzzle falling into place? I have to look up the name of the family member who wrote the obit too. curiouser and curiouser! wouldnt it be fantastic to find out we are absolutely right?? – regards, Sandy

  32. ps – John, back in August in one of your messages to me RE Myra Waldo, you wrote: 1) the Patent Office register lists Myra Waldo Schwartz her as the author of the Art of Parisian Cooking – I think this pretty much seals our supposition that Myra Waldo and Collette Black were one and the same person–I’ll still make an effort to contact a family member. Do you know of any other cookbooks that Myra wrote as Collette? I havent found any other titles yet. – Looking forward to writing a sequel to my original “Where’s Waldo?” – you’ve been such a huge help with this. – Sandy

    • Thanks!

      One more thing about the idea that Colette came from the French authoress. Colette wrote Gigi in the 1940’s and it was made into a French film and then adapted for stage in the early ‘50’s (long before your time!)

      It was a huge hit on Broadway in the mid-‘50’s and the movie was a huge hit in the late ‘50’s. Colette had a bit of a renaissance during that time. It would not surprise me if Myra and Charles went to Paris and dined in the Le Grand Vefour having already heard of Colette and Gigi (they lived in New York, after all). Add a big French celebrity and the English version of her last name and voila! You have Colette Black.

      I think your observation that “Schwartz” means “black” in German was genius. It really explains everything! I am glad only to have helped.



      John W. Howard


      225 Broadway, Suite 2220

      San Diego, California 92101

      Telephone: (619) 234-2842

      Telefax: (619) 234-1716

  33. John – I have sent a message to a woman who I THINK may have been related to Myra, and is listed on Facebook. Cross your fingers! Am hoping I have the right person and that she will either confirm or deny the relationship with Myra and Myra’s connection with Colette. if this person isnt the right one – I can try for one or two others. = Sandy

  34. John–regardless of whether I get a response or not to my inquiry re Myra/Colette–I think we have solved the question ourselves. I would just like an official response but that might not happen. Do you remember any other titles (besides the Art of Parisian Cooking) that were copyrighted in her real name?

    • I have it saved on my computer at home. I will check when I get home this evening.


    • Here is one:


      The art of South American cookery,

      by Myra Waldo. Illustrated by

      John Alcorn. 1st ed. Doubleday.

      © Myra Waldo Schwartz; l8Aug6l;


  35. John, I found 4 titles THE SOUTHERN ITALIAN COOKBOOK, 1963, THE LOW CALORIE COOKBOOK 1962, FRENCH PROVENCIAL COOKING, 2 LISTED ON EBAY $29-$33. (YIKES!) and of course, our ART OF PARISIAN COOKING. If I had the other titles I could compare them with books she wrote under Myra Waldo. There were a couple of diet type cookbooks. I’ll have to dig out the many paperback copies of her cookbooks that I acquired when doing searches. I think one was a diet cookbook. no response on FB yet.

    • OMG, Sandy!

      I got back on the Library of Congress log of copyrights to get you the other books listed for Myra and look what other titles I found under Myra Waldo Schwartz!

      Cook as the Romans Do

      Cooking from the Pantry Shelf

      The Hamburger Cook Book

      The Souffle Cookbook

      And last but not least:

      The Low Calorie Cookbook by Colette Black

      Again it is listed (like the Art of Parisian Cooking) as “pseud”, meaning it is a pseudonym for the author.

      Now here is the BIG news:

      I decided to put The Low Calorie Cookbook by Colette Black into my Google search and I found several books by Colette Black!

      Southern Italian Cookery

      French Provincial Cookery

      ALL of them say “Colette Black pseud.”

      So, she wrote more books under that pseudonym.

      Put “the low calorie cookbook by Colette black” into Google and it will give you an Amazon link. Go on that link and you will find the other books.

      I think you have not only found Colette Black, but also that Myra wrote more books than you thought!

      I am excited!



  36. Dear John…(2nd attempt–I am working with a different online program and this is the 2nd time today I’ve lost everything). I was thinking we are working at cross purposes at times–if that is the right expression–when I go through messages I find we have repeated ourselves more than once…I propose to go to work in WORD tomorrow morning and start with the Myra’s cookbook titles I listed at the end of my article. Then I will do a list of Colette’s titles. Also want to add publishing dates for both lists. This is important because she was writing under both names in the early 60s. How on earth did she do it? There are at least 3 diet-genre cookbooks in paperback under Myra Waldo that I found amongst my cookbooks.cooking for your heart & health, the low salt, low cholesterol cookbook, the slenderella cookbook – plus the one she did as Colette. (Slenderella was an early version of something like Weight Watchers or Curves).What blows my mind is that she was doing all of this B.C. (before computers!) – what’s the earliest that she could have had her own P.C.? I didnt have a home computer until I divorced in 1984 and decided I needed a computer to keep up with my writing. so how did she do it? Well, we may have discovered who Colette Black was, but it begs the question – how on earth did Myra DO it? amongst the paperbacks are two THE COMPLETE BOOK OF ORIENTAL COOKING and THE COMPLETE BOOK OF VEGETABLE COOKERY, which appears to have been part of a group–I just have those two…some of these paperbacks have turned up in unlikely places–thrift stores or used book stores when we still had a lot of those to go digging around in.. sorry this is so long but your email prompted thoughts of mine–I would love to list you as my cowriter/researcher on this project if it doesnt infringe on any of your professional work–we’ve shared so much of this & it has been challenging and delightful to have someone get as excited about it as I am. So on that happy note I will sign off for tonight. to be continued! – Sandy

    • Sandy –

      Just to keep it straight, perhaps we should communicate through e-mail. You can cull out of our e-mails whatever you would like.

      You are certainly welcome to use my name if you would like, but I do not want to divert anyone’s attention from the great work you are doing.

      I still believe that the clincher would be to find recipes for the same dishes in both Colette and Myra cookbooks to see if they are the same. My guess is that there will be some.

      I was really excited to find other “Colette” books; to find that they were pseudonyms and to find more than one “Colette” book listed under Myra’s name as copyrighted by her.

      Anyway, I am happy to help in whatever way I can. I love solving a mystery. In my line of work we look for patterns from which one can extrapolate.

      The fact that there are books “The Art of ____ Cooking” by Myra both and “Colette”, suggests to me a pattern of title that ties them together. When you add that to the fact that about the same time there were books both by “Colette” and by Myra that were healthy eating or diet books, also suggests a relationship. Finally, the fact that both “Colette” and Myra did books the final word in the titles of which was “Cookery” (a word not in common usage) suggests that the same person was involved with both.



      BTW – Just the lawyer in me talking, but you should copyright your work so it is protected. It is easy. Just put © Copyright August 2013 Sandy Smith at the end of each of your posts. There is a difference between copyrighting your work and registering the copyright. It is the registration that costs money and time.


      John W. Howard


      225 Broadway, Suite 2220

      San Diego, California 92101

      Telephone: (619) 234-2842

      Telefax: (619) 234-1716

  37. John–I was going to reply by email & then discovered I didnt have it written down but I know it’s in my inbox emails somewhere. And how do you use the copyright symbol? I used to know that & trade mark but don’t remember them now. Oh, and wanted to mention – I was tickled that you thought Gigi was before my time. not at all. I was a kid growing up in the 50s. And Gigi was on tv not very long ago. I think that was Maurice Chevalier (sp) first big film hit. And I do want to give you credit for your research on this project. I would have never connected all the dots by myself. You wrote today “still believe that the clincher would be to find recipes for the same dishes in both Colette and Myra cookbooks to see if they are the same. My guess is that there will be some” – I’ve been thinking the same thing! It amazes me how of ten we are on the same page. I was reading the introduction to the Art of Parisian cooking in which she delves into the history of French cuisine–Myra doesn’t do this in all of her cookbooks but she does in some–I think some of the paperback editions are condensed so the introductions are shorter. I wanted to see if the lengthier introductions have a pattern of similarities. I would like to check the recipes in Art of Parisian cooking with some of the others in Myra’s collection of foreign cookbooks–some of them just have to be very similar if not the same. (just now I opened up my paperback copy of Myra Waldo’s Bicentennial American Kitchen thinking it could be her most recently published book (was thinking 1976) – aha! the copyright date is 1960. Thanks again for your input–it has been a long time since I put this much into cookbook research–it’s exciting, like putting a complicated puzzle together. Still no answer from the person on FB I think is related to the family. I just know they are in Beverly Hills. – Sandy. ..

  38. Message to John: Tried to email you–it came back–so I did something wrong, not sure what. What I wanted to tell you was just this:

    I have been working on my Myra cookbook list and wanted to share one title in particular with you – its not a book I have, I’m sorry to say – my collection of her books is far from complete and now I want to go back to searching for some of the missing titles. Anyway – this title caught my eye:

    THE COMPLETE BOOK OF GOURMET COOKING FOR THE AMERICAN KITCHEN adapts hundreds of French gourmet recipes for American kitchens (and palates) with recipes ranging from appetizers to desserts, and a glossary of different kinds of cheeses, a chapter of information regarding wines and an herb and spice chart. This is the kind of book that will make gourmet cooks out of all of us. (*and now I wonder – how would THIS book compare with the Art of Parisian Cooking?) MUST find this one!



  40. As a beginning teacher on my own for the first time, I discovered Myra Waldo’s Complete Book of Wine Cookery. I had a good grounding in basic techniques from my mother, who was an excellent cook, using spices and herbs and vinegars to flavour traditional English dishes (and I later discovered, Mennonite cooking learned from her father, who had worked on a Mennonite farm). That’s another story. At any rate, I could not match my mother’s English/Mennonite/Canadian cooking – but she didn’t use wine and knew nothing bout that kind of cooking. I had a hot plate, a Dutch oven and a deep electric frypan, and with Myra’s help learned to cook with wine so well that even my hard-to-please mother approved! That book is still my go-to for cooking with wine. My copy is now brittle, stained, unglued to the point that I was afraid to use it for fear of losing a recipe. Fortunately I was just able to find a nearly new duplicate on eBay, so I won’t have to digitize it in order to keep cooking from it. My search led me to your blog on Myra Waldo. I shall have to look for the Parisian cooking book.

    • Dear Mary Jane,
      Thank you for writing such an interesting message!! And when you can, I hope you will read the sequel that I wrote to the search for Myra Waldo, which I posted just a few days ago. Your experiences with the wine cookbook made me think of my new friend, John, down in San Diego, who only had a paperback copy of The Art of Parisian Cooking (by Colette Black) that he had been cooking with since his college days. (We embarked on a search for the French connection – it seemed that Colette’s writing was very similar to Myra’s – and we embarked on a quest to prove that they were one and the same person.

      More importantly, (as you have discovered for yourself), I have often maintained that anyone who can READ can COOK. Myra’s directions were always straight forward. I don’t remember ever seeing instructions starting out “take one cake mix” – As a rule, Myra’s ingredients in a recipe were mostly common pantry items, aside from the cut of beef or a chicken that you had to go out and buy to make the dish.

      I hope you will try to find some of Myra’s other books. You’ll be glad you did – many of them are becoming very scarce. — Sandy

  41. Dear Sandy and John:
    I owe both of you a note of thanks for your wonderful collaboration on uncovering the identity of Colette Black. I happened upon this thread just today when I did another of my occasional searches for Myra Waldo since I’ve been cooking out of two of her cookbooks since the late 1970’s, namely Cook As the Romans Do! and The Complete Book of Wine Cookery. I bought both on the advice of a friend of mine at the time who was cooking out of the Romans one and she said copies were hard to find. I found mine at Foyles in London and by now they’re both falling apart and highly annotated, often with successive comments. I love their well-used look, although I have them bound with rubber bands to keep them from literally flying apart.

    I’ve used her Romans book the most by far and have many favorites that I make on an annual basis if not more often. For you and others who might have that book and are reading this thread and so might be interested, her Riso Alla Genovese is very nice provided the white wine is right for the ground veal. [All her recipes “alla Genovese” are, in fact, well worth making: Minestrone, Riso as mentioned, Stufato di Manzo, and Salsa.] Her Petti di Pollo al Prosciuto is a winner with the correct amount of salt; her Pollo Arosto I made just this past Thanksgiving as it has an Italian recipe for stuffing that I simply love. Her Sogliole alla Veneziana is simply wonderful: I wouldn’t think of cooking good sole in any other manner.

    One of the interesting things I’ve encountered using and reading through these two books of hers is that the same recipe can appear in both books. [Maybe a warm-up for her later switch in noms de plume, d’ya think?] But the two will differ if ever so little. Take, from her Romans book, the Stufato di Manzo alla Genovese [Beef with White Wine, the translated title]. In the Wine Cookery book she adds 1.5 cups of white wine, not the 1 cup in Romans; and ½ cup of celery not the ¼ cup. I tried both and prefer the Wine Cookery version, but I love and grow my own celery so that’s a no brainer. So too—as long as I’m on this recipe—is the modification needed in some of her recipes when it comes to herbs, especially. Of course back in the early 1960’s it’s likely most Americans didn’t know what basil was much less what to do with it. So both her versions call for ½ tsp of basil. I presume she had in mind dried basil, which is just awful stuff and should never be even considered for culinary purposes. And then that amount of fresh basil would not impart any real flavor-notes in a dish cooked over low heat for 2 hours. For me, it’s minimum ½ cup of basil leaves, and fresh out of my garden.

    For reasons I’m a little unsure of, I’ve often thought about her and I’ve tried to learn a bit more about her since I respect her cooking knowledge quite a lot and I’m just damn thankful for these lovely recipes of hers I continue to make and enjoy. [And I’ve gotten into spats with at least one well known food writer about the quality of her recipes: in this case it was her Spaghetti all’Amatriciana where she not only uses smoked bacon instead of guanciale, but puts in ¾ cup white wine and some hot pepper to boot. I love it that way and couldn’t care less what some nameless New York Times food writer thinks!]

    Maybe I’ve liked her so much because she wasn’t anything like a fancy celebrity but rather someone who just felt it was important to get some very interesting recipes out to a lot of Americans who might not otherwise ever know of them. I haven’t any real knowledge of how she went about getting all these recipes, say in Italy, but some of them I’ve not come close to encountering in any other of my many Italian cookbooks, and I have a boat load of ’em. So she must have engaged in some pretty significant research and traveled extensively within Italy.

    A comment on Myra Waldo and her cookbooks wouldn’t be complete without mention of the often very humorous translations of the recipes she first appends titles to in their native language. Take my all-time favorite, for example: Polpette al Pomodoro → Veal Balls in Tomato Sauce. It’s very good, by the way, and get this, very similar to a recipe Craig Claiborne and Pierre Frenay had for Veal Meatballs with Tarragon, in the New York Times, in 1983. D’ya suppose …

    P.S. I’ve just found and purchased online used copies of Colette’s Southern Italian Cookbook and her French Provincial Cookery. Thanks to you two!

    • Hello David, or Gestur–which do you prefer? I am SO delighted with your comments about Where’s Waldo and I know John will be, too. Your experience with the two cookbooks of Myra’s is similar to John’s, when he first wrote to me about Myra. He had the one French cookbook that he bought and cooked with for years–as you know from reading the article…I felt obligated to expand his Myra horizons – and you have expanded mine – Cooking as the Romans do is one of the few of Myra’s cookbooks that I don’t have but now I will have to start searching for it. when I was comparing the recipes, page by page, of “Colette Black’s” French cookbook with those in Myra’s Complete Book of Gourmet Cooking for the American Kitchen (subtitled The Classic Gourmet Recipes of France, from hors d’oeuvres to desserts, adapted for the modern kitchen) which, despite all the writing I have done on Myra, I still have to go get the book out to quote the title accurately–I made similar discoveries. A better researcher than I would get a kick out of her recipe collection, I think. She began collecting recipes (in her own words) when she and her husband were traveling extensively around Europe. He was a lawyer; she worked for Pan American Airlines–and she simply began collecting recipes as they traveled to many different countries. I imagine there came a time when she realized she had quite a good collection and (also guessing)–I know she did a cookbook especially for Pan Am and I bet she was off and running after that. (*On a far more simpler plane, that’s how I started writing about cookbooks. I always wanted to be a writer. Established authors often told novice writers to write about what you know about best–well, I know cookbooks and recipes – so I began writing about them).

      You are right about herbs–when Myra was compiling cookbooks in the 40s or 50s or even into the 60s- most American cooks wouldn’t know a fresh basil leaf from a leaf of fresh spinach (it’s nice to see how much that has changed in recent years–you can buy almost any fresh herb nowadays) – and it wasn’t something you could go into the supermarket and find in the fresh produce section–although, that being said – I imagine you would like knowing that the Complete Book of Gourmet Cooking for the American Kitchen contains, in the Appendix, an extensive Herb & Spice Chart–mostly DRIED herbs to be sure, but I found Dill listed as fresh. This is one cookbook you should look for and add to your collection. I know I have seen other copies listed on the internet. Thank you so much for writing. You have made my day! – Regards, Sandy

  42. Ever since I read it here, I’ve been trying to find more about the Thanksgiving dinner in Moscow. But (like most of her life), it seems absent from the internet. Do you know anything else about it?

    • Hello S.S. —
      When I first became interested in Myra Waldo, I had to rely almost exclusively on what was on the dust jackets to her books – WHEN I had the dust jacket available to me. Myra was married to an attorney and I think they pretty much kept her professional life separate from their married one. In the beginning it was like working on a major crossword puzzle but without having a picture of the finished product to lean on. I first began researching on Myra Waldo when I was writing for a newsletter called Cookbook Collectors Exchange (which folded around 2001) – I sometimes spent a year collecting information about anyone I was interested in writing about– and the editor of the CCE, as it was generally called, often helped me find Myra’s cookbooks. And, in Myra’s COMPLETE MEALS IN ONE DISH (one of my favorites of her collection of cookbooks) she often simply referred to Robert Schwartz as “my husband” without going into any other details about him. She wrote quite a bit about going to Hungary and described some of their experiences in Budapest, Vienna and Germany–but makes no mention of Russia.

      (I just checked the index to Complete Meals in One Dish”. That being said, I found on the dust jacket to”PAN AMERICAN’S COMPLETE ROUND-THE-WORLD-COOKBOOK” the following: “Myra Waldo has traveled around the world frequently as food consultant to Pan American World AirWays, tasting the specialties of six continents. As a result she has written many cookbooks, and on a recent trip to Moscow, introduced the Russians to a typical American Meal” — two pages of “PAN AMERICAN’S COMPLETE ROUND-THE-WORLD-COOKBOOK” are dedicated to Russia without any mention of preparing or receiving a “typical American Thanksgiving meal.”

      I will delve deeper to see if I can find a reference to a Thanksgiving dinner in Moscow. However, given the atmosphere during the Cold War, “PAN AMERICAN’S COMPLETE ROUND-THE-WORLD-COOKBOOK” first published in 1954, then reprinted five times up to 1958–possibly her editors may have felt anything more about Russia was verboten.

      I wish I knew the answer to this and will dig around a bit more to see if I can find a reference to a Thanksgiving dinner in Russia; may I ask how you found a reference to it?

      Thank you for writing. I see I have not lost my fascination with Myra Waldo.


      • John Howard

        How great it was to hear from you!!

        I am sorry I have been so uncommunicative.


        John Howard

        John W. Howard


        225 Broadway, Suite 2220

        San Diego, California 92101

        Telephone: (619) 234-2842

        Telefax: (619) 234-1716

  43. So pleased to hear from you, John. I imagine the work of a lawyer is never done. I hope you are getting some time off for the 4th of July holiday. And you undoubtedly noted, I didn’t even GO into our discoveries about Myra writing under another name! I wish I could find another way to learn about Myra’s life before she began working for Pan Am! Thanks for writing–Sandra “S.S.” has dropped another clue into my lap–I haven’t found ANY information about her doing a Thanksgiving meal for the Russians!

  44. So sorry it took me so long to respond! But the only thing I know about a Soviet Thanksgiving is what you mentioned about it here, and I would love to know more.
    The only things I knew about her was what I got out of my mother’s copy of the Pan-Am cookbook. Since reading this post, I’ve been getting a lot of Myra’s books by interlibrary loan. I had no idea she was as big as she was in her time, and her recipes hold up astonishingly well compared to a lot of books from the time. I think that if they had modern-style photographs added, they’d sell really well.

  45. Last night one of the channels that shows old TV shows (maybe the game show channel) featured Myra Waldo on “To Tell The Truth” – the show was from the early ’60’s after seeing and hearing her I had to check her out. Now I need to check out her cookbooks. Seems like a very interesting lady.

    • hello, Lee,
      I am so pleased to learn about Myra Waldo being featured on an old radio tv show ( I guess I should pay more attention to the various old TV shows being brought back) – I can tell you that virtu ally all of waldo’s cookbooks were very well written; some, I only found old paperbacks in used book stores ( this was a while ago…maybe a couple decades) but the beauty of the internet is that you CAN find some of her books on Amazon, Alibris–I provided a list of her books when I first wrote about her in a newsletter called Cookbook Collectors Exvhange–no longer being published but I cut my teeth on that newsletter and then began rewriting some of my articles for my blog–when I started out writing for the CCE it was with the understanding that I retained all rights to my articles. It gave me such a sad feeling when I learned about her death, in Beverly Hills, California, not far from me…I thought maybe she would have granted me an interview. I think I may have been her biggest fan.
      Well, I wish you luck with your searches….write back to me if you have trouble finding any of her books….I have more than one copy of some of them, hardcover books that I acquired when I was searching for her books and inadvertently bought more than one (like the Diners Club Cookbook) I haven’t attempted to sell them because I don’t know of any one else searching for them. (maybe I should list them on Amazon????) Well, let me know. You should have a list at the end of the article.
      Thanks for writing – it made my day!
      Sandra Smith

    • Sandy – So nice to hear from you!! and that you are still on the quest!

      John Howard

      • Hello John — sorry I didn’t see this message any sooner — I take it you received what I mailed to you. it was a fluke that someone saw an old film clip with Myra on it.

      • Sandy – I DID get the recipe you sent! It is sitting on my desk at the office to remind me to write back. It was so nice to hear from you! I ‘m glad it is coming on winter so I can make the beef burgundy. I hope you are well!



        Sent from my iPhone


      • sorry I didn’t find this sooner – I am converting over to AOL but still have a lot to wade through on earthlink. YesI I’m still here;!

  46. Myra’s appearance on “To Tell The Truth” can presently be seen on YouTube. It is the episode of 7-6-64 and is the second round of the game about 8 and a half minutes into the program. After seeing it I also was interested and thank you for all the research you and your readers did and shared

  47. Myra’s appearance on To Tell The Truth os on YouTube. Listed as TTTT 1964 07 06

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