CONTEMPORARY COOKBOOK AUTHOR LORNA SASS

Lorna Sass is a widely published food writer and an award-winning cookbook author. Her career in food began as a culinary historian: while studying for her PhD in medieval literature at Columbia University, Lorna wrote four historical cookbooks that were published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The first of the four was “To The King’s Taste: Richard II’s Book of Feasts and Recipes,” with recipes adapted for modern cooking, published in 1975, following by “To the Queen’s Taste” – Elizabethan feasts and recipes adapted for modern cooking. In her biography on http://lornasass.com, the author explains how she happened to write “To The King’s Taste”.

Lorna was studying for her doctorate in medieval literature at Columbia University when she happened upon a published version of manuscript recipes from the royal household of Richard II, dated 1390. She says she couldn’t believe her eyes. Lorna checked the book out and started trying the recipes. Her experiments led to teaching to children at the Cloisters* and then to the publication of “To The King’s Taste” by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sandy’s Cooknote: * The Cloisters is a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. The building and its cloistered gardens—located in Fort Tryon Park in Northern Manhattan—are treasures in themselves, effectively part of the collection housed there. The Cloisters collection comprises approximately three thousand works of art from medieval Europe, dating from about the ninth to the sixteenth century.

Before completing her doctorate, writes Lorna, she also wrote “To The Queen’s Taste”, “Dinner with Tom Jones (about 18th century English cooking) and “Christmas Feasts from History” which traces Christmas specialties from the ancient Roman times through Dickens. During the 1970s, Lorna also gave lectures and taught workshops on the history of gastronomy all around the country.

(I have “To the King’s Taste” and “To The Queen’s Taste”, as well as “Christmas Feasts”, having become interested in medieval cooking and recipes years ago, possibly dating back to the 1960s and 70s when I was reading and collecting Norah Lofts’ novels which often took place in medieval times. Lofts even wrote one that takes place during Richard II’s time, a book titled “The Flute Player”). I don’t have “Dinner with Tom Jones”…yet! I ordered it from Amazon.Com today).

I am always fascinated with what events transpire during our childhoods, that lead up to our adult careers or interests. Lorna writes “My mom was a good cook and very adventurous. Consequently, I was the first kid on my block to eat avocados and artichokes before Julia was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye. I was too busy reading books and editing the high school newspaper to spend much time with mom in the kitchen, but I grew up with a relaxed sense of cooking good food”

Lorna became interested in pressure cooking during the mid-eighties after her vegetarian mother carted a cooker back from India and began producing delectable soups and stews in a matter of minutes. Lorna says that a light bulb went off in her head; realizing that the pressure cooker could produce “fast food” that was both nutritious and delicious, Lorna began culinary experiments that led to the publication of “COOKING UNDER PRESSURE”.

“Cooking Under Pressure” was published in 1989 to wide acclaim and went through 24 printings. (See also my article “Rediscovering Pressure Cookers” posted March 8 2011. Readers interested in learning more about the use of a pressure cooker can find detailed instructions in “The Pressured Cook.”)

Lorna went on to write “GREAT VEGETARIAN COOKING UNDER PRESSURE”(1994), “THE PRESSURED COOK” 1999) and “PRESSURE PERFECT”(1999) .

It was during a period of following a strict vegan vegetarian diet that Lorna wrote several vegan cookbooks, including “Lorna Sass’ Complete Vegetarian Kitchen” and “The New Vegan Cookbook”. However, she says that she frequently found herself low on energy and gradually resumed eating dairy, eggs, fish, chicken, and ultimately meat.

When she isn’t cooking or writing, Lorna has many other interests; she loves to travel and take photographs, both at home and abroad. Readers who are interested can follow her day-to-day adventures on her blog: http://www.lornasassatlarge.wordpress.com. Other sites to visit: http://www.lornasass.com and pressurecookingwithlornasass.wordpress.com.

You will fall in love with the photographs she shares on http://www.lornasassatlarge.wordpress.com. I’m pea-green with envy.
The author also loves jazz, theatre, and cabaret; she lives in New York city with Central Park for a backyard; she loves city life and lore.

The following is a list of Lorna Sass’ published cookbooks, listed in date order:

• To The King’s Taste: Richard IIs Book of Feasts and Recipes Adapted for Modern Cooking, hardcover, J. Murray, 1975

• To the Queen’ Taste: Elizabethan Feasts and Recipes Adapted for Modern Cooking, Hardcover, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976

• Dinner With Tom Jones; 18th Century Cookery Adapted for Modern Kitchens, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977

• Christmas Feasts From History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Irena Chalmers Cookbooks, 1981

• Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen, 1992

• Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure 1994

• Lorna Sass’ Short Cut Vegetarian: Great Taste in No Time, William Morrow & Co., softcover 1997

• The New Soy Cookbook: Tempting Recipes for Tofu, Tempeh, Soybeans and Soymilk, Chronicle Books 1998

• The Pressured Cook, Over 75 One Pot Meals In Minutes Made in Today’s 199% Safe Pressure Cookers, 1999

• The New Vegan Cookbook, 2001

• Lorna Sass’ Complete Vegetarian Kitchen 2002

• Pressure Perfect: Two Hour Taste Twenty Minutes Using Your Pressure Cooker 2004

• Whole Grains Every Day Every Way 2006

• Whole Grains for Busy People, 2008

• Cooking Under Pressure, 2009

I often provide ordering information and current available prices on various cookbooks. Lorna Sass’ cookbooks are available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble’s website, Jessica’s Biscuit.com and Alibris. There are a wide range of prices ; I did order “Dinner With Tom Jones” through Amazon.com from a private vendor; the price was about $5.00 plus the usual $3.99 shipping charge.

Happy Cooking & Happy Cookbook Collecting!

Sandy@sandychatter

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