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I call it "The Gilded Pig"

Anna Berkes

That would be a great name for a band, wouldn't it?  Or a car.  Alas, no, it's my latest book acquisition, and although I do poke gentle fun at my Gilded Pig, it really is a great little find.  I've been scouring the Internets for undiscovered works of genius by Marie Kimball, and came across a book she wrote - more of a pamphlet, really - called Treasured Recipes of the Old South (1941).  There were plenty of copies to be had on used booksellers' websites, but I wasn't content with just any old copy.  No!  I bought a specially-bound presentation copy, produced for the author herself!  And inside all the fancy leather cover with its gold-leaf trim and marbled endpapers is a 20-page recipe booklet, published by the Morrill Ham Company, with wall-to-wall Morrill Ham recipes.  Ham cornucopias, anyone?

This little book is certainly a study in contrasts.  On the one hand, we have nightmare-inducing color pictures of food, which look like they're straight out of the Gallery of Regrettable Food; on the other we have marbled endpapers, gilding, and a personal letter from the president of the Morrill Ham Company to Marie Kimball in the front of the book, declaiming that he was "sure that 'Treasured Recipes of the Old South' will continue for many years to shine as one of the brightest stars in the firmament of gastronomy!"

It would be a mean person indeed who would mock such earnestness.  Plus, it's not just any old corporate-sponsored recipe booklet with scary pictures; it's a corporate-sponsored recipe booklet with scary pictures, by Marie Kimball! And so we will treasure our new Gilded Pig, in all its amusing contrasts.


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