Just in time for the launch of S2 of The Gilded Age on HBO, The Gilded Age Cookbook brings the lavish cuisine of late 19th-century New York society to life in stunning detail. Author Becky Libourel Diamond beautifully transports readers back to this era of excess through meticulously researched recipes, menus, and historical insights.
The book is organized into chapters covering different meal occasions – formal dinners, luncheons, balls, and picnics. The menus provide a glimpse into the elaborate courses standard for wealthy households. Diamond offers context on the custom of change à cote service, explaining how it allowed hosts to show off diverse dishes.
The recipes are the highlight, with simple yet elegant dishes like lobster fricasse, waldorf salad, and pumpkin cake. Diamond helpfully adapts quantities and directions for the modern home cook where needed while retaining the essence and presentation of the originals. She includes photos of finished recipes plated in period-style serving ware.
In addition to over 100 recipes, the book is filled with historical details that make it come alive. Essays cover topics like etiquette expectations, food procurement, innovations in transportation and preservation that shaped Gilded Age cuisine. Diamond draws from historical cookbooks and manuscripts to shape her analysis.
This volume is a treasure for history buffs, costume drama fans, and serious foodies alike. It provides a deep dive into how meals defined status and shaped culture in the famously excessive decades that gave the Gilded Age its name. It is now an indispensable guide for hosting an immersive period-style dinner party.
Stay tuned as I share a few of my favourite recipes from this great book, which would be perfect to serve at a viewing party!