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Cookbook Love Podcast

Jan 23, 2020

Hi and welcome back to another episode of the Cookbook Love Podcast. Today I feature an interview with author and cookbook collector and self-proclaimed autodidactic polymath, Peter Hertzmann. Peter has been the creator, author, and illustrator of the e-zine à la carte since its inception in 1999.  He is also the author of 50 Ways to Cook a Carrot and Knife Skills Illustrated. Peter is passionate about teaching people from all walks of life the skills that will enable them to cook almost anything. His obsession and life-long interest in cooking and culinary traditions goes back to the early 1970s and for him, cooking is not just a matter of preparing recipes, it is a total immersion in all things food. As he writes in his e-zine: “I’m obsessive. All my life, when something interested me, I became obsessed with it. I learned all I could about it. I lived it! 

For most of his adult life, my interest was Chinese cookery—its preparation, materials, history, politics, and culture. Besides learning all he could about Chinese food and culture, he became involved with Chinese-American organizations and studied Chinese-American food, history, and culture. He collected English-language Chinese cookbooks and eventually amassed one of the largest collections in the world. (The books are now part of the Pond-Hertzmann Collection at the University of California at Davis.)

Then one fall, during an eight-day trip to Paris—his first—he had an epiphany - that he wouldn’t be able to proceed with my education unless he spent a lot of time in France and learned to at least read some French. In the following two years, he started doing just that. As he was obsessed with Chinese cookery, he is now obsessive with French cookery—its preparation, materials, history, politics, and culture. His e-zine a la carte is part of that obsession.

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Things We Mention In This Episode: