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Tanaquil Le Clercq’s The Ballet Cook Book: A 50th Anniversary Celebration


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1 hour ago, kfw said:

Now if someone would only re-release that cookbook. With all the publicity she received after the film and the novel, I can't believe it wouldn't sell well. 

Does anybody know who owns the rights on this? Perhaps she left that to the Balanchine Trust? If so, they could re-release it themselves. There are economical self-publishing options out there, via Amazon and other sites.


If anybody is going to the Guggenheim program, please ask the program presenters about that.


I looked at Amazon - seems there are four copies available for about $1000, so it's become a collector's item. Sadly, reading the comments, it appears that the NYPL copy was stolen!



NEH has a program to digitize humanities books out of print, but this probably wouldn't qualify: https://www.neh.gov/grants/odh/humanities-open-book-program

Edited by California
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I don't know where the rights to this went after LeClerq's death -- it wouldn't surprise me if it was now owned by the Trust.  I imagine there would be a market for it, not only in terms of its ballet world credentials, but as an example of mid-20th c American menu cooking. 


Tangentially, I looked at my local library website to see if they owned a copy -- alas, they do not, but their search engine suggested that I check "The Ballard Cookbook" (Ballard is a neighborhood in Seattle with a strong Scandinavian heritage).  And here it is, The Ballard Cookbook, ca 1907, compiled and printed by the Gilman Park Methodist Episcopal Church.  It's only available in the library (non-circulating), but the next time I'm at the central library, I'll look for it.


Or you might want to look at the Blockade Cookbook, compiled by women living in Berlin during the blockade.  Check the recipe for Block-Ade punch.


Returning you now to your previously scheduled programming.

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59 minutes ago, sandik said:

Tangentially, I looked at my local library website to see if they owned a copy -- alas, they do not. . .

It's also not in the Denver Public Library nor the University of Colorado or California State University Libraries (although CSU has her cat book!). If the organizers of the Guggenheim program are smart, they'll find a way to get some copies made up for sale at the program and also through on-line ordering. The trick, as noted, is finding out who owns the rights now.

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The cookbook is interesting in that there was some diversity in the old NYCB ballet and it is reflected in the recipes that the dancers contributed.  Violette Verdy offered classic French recipes in old fashioned preparations.  Edward Villella has some nouvelle American stuff but also classic Italian-American dishes brought here from Southern Italy like an Italian rice cake.  Melissa Hayden, née Mildred Herman in Toronto Canada has a bunch of your Jewish grandmother's old world dishes - stuffed cabbages, potato latkes, etc.  Balanchine himself has Russian dishes (some with a Parisian touch) like borscht, kasha and blinis.  


This gentleman Ryan Wenzel organized dinner parties with Antonio Carmena of NYCB as the master chef utilizing one chapter each of the "Ballet Cook Book".  Here is his blog entries for each party (Hayden, Balanchine, Villella, Verdy and Le Clerq herself):




Edited by FauxPas
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The cookbook will be reprinted to celebrate its 50th anniversary.  In addition, Jacques d’Amboise, Allegra Kent, Jared Angle and Adrian Danchig-Waring  will participate in a conversation with Meryl Rosofsky, a food scholar, at a presentation at the Guggenheim on Nov. 5 and 6.  Moreover, the restaurant at the Guggenheim will be serving dishes from the cookbook.



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When Works and Process posted this event on Facebook, I wrote a comment that I hoped they would find a way to reprint the book and sell by mail through their bookstore. Somebody from Guggenheim (?) responded that they were still trying to trace the ownership rights and hoped to do that. The problem of "orphan copyrights" was never solved by Congress. I hope they figure it out. 

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5 hours ago, California said:

 The problem of "orphan copyrights" was never solved by Congress. I hope they figure it out. 


This is actually a problem in many different contexts, and I wish someone with some power in DC would take it on and craft some solutions.

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