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American painter James McNeill Whistler probably never expected the portrait of his mother that graces the cover of this book to become a cultural icon. Begun on a whim when another model failed to show up for a session, the painting, familiarly known simply as "Whistler's Mother," has become one of the best known and most beloved in the world and now hangs in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Nor, we can be sure, did Anna McNeill Whistler expect that her "cook book" would one day be published and thereby enjoyed by myriad readers beyond her own family. Irreverently referred to by her son as her "Bible," the manuscript book was kept faithfully by Mrs. Whistler of many years and contained recipes for such varied and delectable dishes as bread-and-butter pudding, "oisters," "mackroons," "whigs," quince marmalade, and pickled walnuts. Bequeathed by Whistler's sister-in-law, along with other books and letters from his estate, to the University of Glasgow, the manuscript has been edited for this publication by Margaret MacDonald, research fellow at the Centre for Whistler Studies at the university. MacDonald also provides a fascinating account of the Whistler household in the United States, Russia, and Britain, offering a rare and delightful glimpse into nineteenth-century family life. The recipes are both delicious and easy to prepare; just in reading them, one can sense the flavors and aromas of good home cooking. They are presented both in Mrs. Whistler's words-"To a pint of pulped apples add the juice of a Lemon and a little of the peel shred fine, 5 eggs and a gill of cream . . ."-and in terms more familiar to the modern cook. Where deciphering listed ingredients-such as rose-water, emptins, isinglass, or pearl ash-might otherwise prove perplexing, these terms are fully explained and their modern successors substituted. Among the illustrations in this new edition of Margaret MacDonald's 1979 classic are some of Whistler's most evocative drawings and prints of shopping, cooking, and dining, many in full color, as well as portraits of Whistler and his mother and pages from the original cook book.
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||Anna Mathilda McNeill Whistler